Orange and T-Mobile are clear to merge their UK businesses, but only after agreeing to give up 25% of their combined 1800MHz spectrum in the country.
Merger of Orange and T-Mobile approved
The EC approved the merger yesterday, after the carriers agreed to the spectrum reduction to tackle EC fears the combined company would dominate the UK’s LTE market in the medium-term.
They also had to agree a new network sharing agreement with Hutchison Whampoa-owned rival 3, which currently uses T-Mobile’s network and is the UK’s smallest mobile operator.
After the EC approval was granted, the UK’s Office of Fair Trading withdrew a request to review the deal itself.
The OFT said it shared the EC’s concerns over the potential impact on competition in the UK mobile market, but is equally satisfied by the concessions the carriers made.