EC blocks 3UK/O2 merger, with tough lessons for all MNOs
Mobile operators can no longer rely on consolidation to improve their prospects, need to accelerate their digital programs instead
The European Commission’s decision to block Hutchison’s acquisition of Telefonica’s O2 UK arm had become almost inevitable, but it still raises important issues for European operators.
One, it is now clear that the shortlived era of tolerance of acquisitions which reduce the number of MNOs in a country is over. Hutchison was able to acquire rivals in Austria and Ireland by agreeing to share spectrum or support new entrants, even though these deals resulted in fewer MNOs. But the current competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, has slam