Advanced Television

EU may relax M&A to boost 5G

February 14, 2024

EU regulators may relax rules against mobile telecoms mergers and broaden telecoms rules to get Big Tech and others to help fund the rollout of 5G, according to a European Commission document reported by Reuters.

National telcos have long lobbied EU antitrust regulators to loosen rules that clampdown on mergers that reduce the number of mobile operators from four to three unless substantial remedies are offered.

The paper from Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager asks for feedback from all stakeholders, and points to some 50 mobile operators and more than 100 fixed operators in the European Union. Such a fragmented market “along national borders could impact the ability of operators to reach the scale needed to invest in the networks of the future, in particular in view of cross-border services,” the paper says.

“The question arises as to whether cross-border consolidation or different forms of cooperation upstream could allow operators to acquire sufficient scale, without compromising downstream competition,” it adds.

The document also said the scope of current telecoms rules could be broadened because of the convergence between electronic communications networks and cloud services. noting: “The Commission may consider the broadening of the scope and objectives of the current regulatory framework to ensure a level playing field and equivalent rights and obligations for all actors and end-users of digital networks.”

Categories: Articles, Business, M&A, Policy, Telco

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