EE and BT’s massive merger cleared by Competition and Markets Authority

BT takeover would reduce phone operators in Britain to just three

The planned merger between mobile phone providers EE and BT has been cleared by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The watchdog said that the reduction in the number of providers that would result from the merger, from four to three, is not “expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition”.

The CMA’s BT/EE inquiry chair John Wotton said: “After a detailed investigation, our provisional view is that these concerns will not translate into a competition problem in practice”.

But the CMA’s clearance jars with that of the communications regulator Ofcom, which has said the deal may not meet regulatory approval.

Earlier this month, Ofcom chief executive Sharon White said: “The combined operator would be the UK’s biggest, controlling more than four in ten mobile connections, according to estimates by Analysys Mason.”

She added: “We continue to believe that four operators is a competitive number that has delivered good results for consumers and sustainable returns for companies.” 

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