CMA consults on Vodafone/Three merger
October 11, 2023
By Colin Mann
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is providing an early opportunity for interested third parties to comment on the impact that the proposed merger between mobile telcos Vodafone and Three could have on competition in the UK, in advance of launching a formal investigation once it has received the information it needs from the merging companies.
“Millions of consumers and businesses in the UK rely on mobile networks to stay connected,” commented Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA. “We will be carefully considering how this deal may affect competition in the UK, which could affect the options and prices available to customers. We will also assess how it may affect incentives to invest in the quality of UK mobile networks. This is an opportunity for those with an interest in this merger to let us know their views before we launch a full investigation.
The CMA’s remit, by law, is to assess the potential impact of a merger on competition. It cannot consider other potential effects that a merger might have, for example, on employment or access to personal data. Any national security concerns would be a matter for the UK government, which may choose to intervene under the National Security and Investment Act if it finds concerns.
The CMA is now inviting views on the impact of the deal on competition to assist with its evidence gathering ahead of launching a formal investigation. Further opportunities to submit views will be provided once the CMA begins its formal Phase 1 investigation.
While it is for the CMA to investigate and decide whether this merger can proceed, it will consult Ofcom as the sectoral regulator which oversees mobile communications.