T-Mobile and Orange cleared to merge
1st Mar 2010 | 15:45
EC promises to protect 3 in the deal as well
The European Commission has ratified the agreement between T-Mobile and Orange to combine in the UK.
As part of the new agreement, T-Mobile was asked to strengthen its network sharing agreement with 3 prior to the merge, so that the UK's smallest operator is not forced out of business by Orange joining the party.
The new deal struck between the two networks means that 3 will, according to the EC, "secure its position as a competitive force on the market".
The EC also mandated that T-Mobile and Orange give up part of its spectrum allocation.
These shares were previously bid for by the networks independently, and allow them to provide data and calls over 3G.
If merged, T-Mobile and Orange would hold a large portion of the data networks in the future, which would likely mean a significant advantage when high speed 4G internet is introduced into the UK.
So Orange and T-Mobile have agreed to give away 15MHz of their spectrum allocation, which presumably will be offered up for auction between the remaining networks.
The Office of Fair Trading in the UK previously stated that it wanted to take over the handling of the prospective merger between T-Mobile and Orange as it fell within its territory and interests.
However, with this new announcement from the EC, the OFT has withdrawn this request, meaning the future is now bright for T'Orange to start life as a new entity.
Via the EC