BT has outlined the benefits of its proposed £12.5bn takeover of EE to the Competition Market Authority (CMA), claiming that it should be waved through as it will not affect the market in a negative way.
The deal was confirmed earlier this year and BT shareholders recently gave their overwhelming backing to the acquisition, which will see BT return to the mobile market for the first time in over a decade.
However, the CMA will first assess whether the deal will unbalance the telecoms market on the fixed or mobile broadband side, or both, and rivals to BT such as Sky, Vodafone and TalkTalk have already raised concerns that this could happen.
But BT has said that if the deal goes ahead the mobile market will remain with four operators, with BT simply replacing EE, while on the fixed side the ability for other operators to use Openreach services will not be affected.
The company even went as far as noting that Virgin Media and TalkTalk are ahead of BT when it comes to offering 'bundle' deals for telecoms services, such as phone, TV, broadband and mobile services, so BT's arrival would actually be good for the wider market.
As such, BT hopes to have the deal moved to ‘Phase 2’ by the CMA. This will effectively remove the need for a full review, and instead make it a practically done deal. This would see the agreement signed off by March 2016, BT said.
BT chief executive Gavin Patterson added that the acquisition would increase investment in the UK telecoms market and enhance competition by enabling BT to broaden its offering to customers.
"BT’s acquisition of EE will be good for consumers, businesses and UK plc, as well as for BT shareholders, so we are keen to get regulatory clearance,” he said.
“The acquisition will lead to greater competition, given our history as a natural and willing wholesaler, enabling other companies to use the networks we own.”
The CMA acknowledged BT's request to have the deal moved to Phase 2 and has invited interested parties to submit their responses to the proposals via its website. The regulator expects to make a decision within three weeks.
However, while BT is hoping to see the deal cleared without issue, the fact that Three is moving to buy O2 for £10bn could throw a spanner in the works as this will reduce the number of operators in the market, and could harm the chance of the purchase being passed.
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