The proposed merger of Orange and T-Mobile is to be given the go-ahead by the European Commission this week, according to a report in The Sunday Telegraph today.
The deal, which would give parent companies France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom a leading share of about 37 per cent of the UK market, had been disputed by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and Ofcom, as well as mobile rivals O2 and Vodafone.
The OFT had requested earlier this month that the European Commission allow it to deal with the UK aspects of the proposed merger, adding that it believed the joint venture could significantly threaten competition by creating the largest mobile operator in the UK.
However, the Commission will give the green light to the deal this week and not ask UK authorities to further investigate, according to The Sunday Telegraph, which cited "sources close to the situation".
If the deal does get the go-ahead from European regulators, it is likely that they have been swayed by a number of key concessions apparently offered by Orange and T-Mobile late last week.
The operators said that they will give up 25 per cent of the key 1,800MHz frequency spectrum if their proposed merger is approved.
The bandwidth is considered vital for the development and hosting of fourth-generation wireless technology, an area considered a major growth market by mobile operators.
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