BT and EE's merger cleared by CMA

The regulator said EE and BT are too small in their respective spaces to have an impact on the rest of the market

The Competition and Markets Authority has come to the conclusion that the BT and EE merger will not pose a risk to the UK's mobile or broadband markets and has therefore provisionally cleared the acquisition to go ahead.

Although BT has a large market share in the retail broadband market and EE has the same presence in the mobile market, because the other company involved in the acquisition is smaller, it will not have a negative impact.

"We recognise that this is a merger which is important to many consumers and businesses," said John Wotton, Inquiry Chair. "We have heard a number of concerns from competitors. After a detailed investigation, our provisional view is that these concerns will not translate into a competition problem in practice."

He went on to say that the retail mobile market in the UK is competitive as it stands and as BT is the smallest operator, he does not think the merger will have a significant impact on the competition. When it comes to the broadband sector, Wotton doesn't think there will be a problem with EE either, because like BT in the mobile sector, it is too small to be considered a threat.

"We have also been looking at the ways in which, as a merged company, BT/EE might try to disadvantage competitors which it supplied with services such as backhaul, wholesale mobile or wholesale broadband services," he said. "We have provisionally found that in some areas it is unlikely that they would have both the ability and incentive to do so - and in others that the effects of their attempting to do so would be limited."

"Having considered all the evidence, the group does not provisionally believe that, in a dynamic and evolving sector, it is more likely than not that BT/EE will be able to use its position to damage competition or the interests of consumers," Wotton finished.

Image credit: chrisdorney / Shutterstock.com

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