The UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has requested to take charge of the review of the merger between Orange UK and T-Mobile UK, in response to concerns over the impact on competition.
The proposed merger would create the UK's largest mobile phone company, with a market share of 37% and control of over 80% of the spectrum in the 1,800 MHz range.
The OFT said its initial view was that the joint venture threatens to negatively affect competition in the UK mobile sector. It has requested that the EC relinquish control of the review, which would leave the OFT free to decide whether the matter should be referred to the Competition Commission.
The EC now has ten days to decide whether to pass the review to the OFT or press on with its own investigation.
British consumer groups have called for the deal to be examined in the market where the merger will take place, Times Online reports.
Rivals 3, O2 and Vodafone have also expressed concern over the deal, with 3 urging that the review of the merger be conducted “properly and carefully.”