BT clear to take over EE
BT have been given the green light to take over Britain's biggest mobile operator, EE, for £12.5bn. Regulators have said that this merger will not cause significant damage to competition in the markets they looked at.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the deal looked good in all areas, and is absolutely going to annoy the hell out of BT's rivals, as BT now have a lot of sway as the main provider of connections for mobile masts.
John Wooton, chair of the CMA inquiry, said: "We provisionally think that the retail mobile market in the UK, with four main mobile providers and a substantial number of smaller operators, is competitive."
"The group does not provisionally believe that, in a dynamic and evolving sector, it is more likely than not that BT/EE will be able to use its position to damage competition or the interests of consumers."
It is thought that the CMA came to this decision because BT is only a very small player in the mobile world, currently. So, by buying EE, it won't exactly hinder consumers' choices. Seeing as EE are small-fry in the fixed-line broadband market, there's going to be little hindrance there as well.
However, there are some reservations - Wooton said that, in the wholesale market, the BT/EE tagteam "might try to disadvantage competitors" who buy fibre-optic connections for mobile masts, or wholesale mobile capacity for 'virtual networks'. However, despite this: "We have provisionally found that in some areas it is unlikely that they would have both the ability and incentive to do so [disadvantage competitors] - and in others that the effects of their attempting to do so would be limited."
"Having considered all the evidence, the group does not provisionally believe that, in a dynamic and evolving sector, it is more likely than not that BT/EE will be able to use its position to damage competition or the interests of consumers."