Former German regulator: E-Plus/O2 Germany merger would hurt consumers
Any merger of KPN's E-Plus and Telefónica O2 Germany would hurt consumers due to a reduction in competition, according to Matthias Kurth, the former president of the German Federal Network Agency (FNA), the country's telecoms regulator.
In an opinion article in the German newspaper De Welt, Kurth said that while the owners of the two German operators are struggling in their domestic markets, E-Plus and O2 Germany are operating profitably and he questioned who will benefit from any merger.
What's important today is "alive and diverse competition, and much more reliable guarantees for infrastructure investment," said Kurth, noting the high discounts that are available in Germany from MVNOs such as Aldi Talk, Simyo and Tchibo.
Of more importance, the ex-FNA chief claimed that a merger of E-Plus and O2 Germany would require spectrum to be returned as detailed in the auction conditions if a successful bidder no longer remains independent.
As an alternative, Kurth suggested that E-Plus and O2 Germany co-operate on network sharing and operations to reduce both operating expenses and capital expenditures.
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