Vodafone is in talks to acquire New Zealand operator TelstraClear, a move that would bolster its position relative to Telecom NZ.
The UK headquartered carrier yesterday revealed it has approached Telstra, the parent of TelstraClear, regarding an acquisition, but gave no details regarding what money is on the table or when a deal may be agreed. TelstraClear issued a similar statement, confirming talks are underway but emphasizing no agreement has been reached.
A purchase of TelstraClear would give Vodafone's New Zealand arm the assets it needs to compete with Telecom NZ in the broadband market - including alternative high-speed broadband infrastructure to the Ultrafast Fibre network being rolled out by the incumbent and several utilities in a public-private partnership.
However, estimates by the New Zealand Herald reveal a combined Vodafone TelstraClear would still lag Telecom NZ in fixed line market share. The newspaper figures the incumbent’s share to be 49% at present, compared to 16% TelstraClear and 13% Vodafone.
Sources told the paper that a potential sale may involve only parts of the TelstraClear business, such as the consumer rather than enterprise segment.
But commentators have speculated that New Zealand's corporate regulator Commerce Commission may probe the potential deal, as it could reduce competition in the telecom market, TVNZ reports.
A merger between New Zealand's second and third largest operators would lead to an effective market duopoly. And while Telecom NZ dominates the broadband market, Vodafone captures the majority of mobile revenue.