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Mobile services

Eurobites: Merger of O2 & 3 Is a Bad Idea, UK Tells EC

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vodafone Ireland completes 4G upgrade; UK's Daily Mail eyes Yahoo; Nokia appoints new president at subsea unit.

  • The UK's Competition & Markets Authority has written a letter to the European Commission in which it strongly sets out its concerns about the proposed merger between Three UK and Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2). The letter, signed by CMA Chief Executive Alex Chisholm and addressed to the Commission's antitrust boss, Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, says that the CMA thinks the merger "would give rise to a significant impediment to effective competition in retail and wholesale mobile telecoms markets" in the UK. The letter also dismisses the "remedies" proposed by the two operators to appease critics of the deal, saying that the proposed remedies are "materially deficient as they will not lead to the creation of a fourth Mobile Network Operator (MNO) capable of competing effectively and in the long-term with the remaining three MNOs such that it would stem the loss of competition caused by the merger." (See Orange & Hutch: A Tale of Two Takeovers and Eurobites: O2 & 3 May Not Become One.)

  • Vodafone Ireland has completed the upgrade of its national network infrastructure, bringing 4G coverage to more than 90% of the population. The operator says the upgrade represents an investment of more than €550 million (US$627 million) over three years.

  • The owners of the UK's Daily Mail newspaper are in talks with private equity firms over a possible acquisition of Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), reports the BBC, citing the Wall Street Journal. The Daily Mail, which is read by millions but regarded by level-headed Brits as a boil on the behind of the UK newspaper industry, has probably the strongest online presence of any British national newspaper, so the acquisition of the struggling portal could help it further develop that side of its operation.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) is trumpeting the fact that its Openreach access network division has now passed 25 million premises (about 90% of the UK's total) with its wholesale fiber network. By "passed," Openreach means it can provide services either directly via fiber or from street cabinets that have fiber running to them.

  • And in other UK fiber news, Hyperoptic , the UK fiber infrastructure challenger, is working on a number of FTTP installations in the English seaside town of Brighton, offering gigabit speeds to several new developments. Brighton is the thirteenth UK urban center to receive the Hyperoptic treatment. (See Hyperoptic Is Apoplectic.)

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has appointed Philippe Piron as president of its Alcatel-Lucent Submarine Networks (ASN) subsidiary, replacing Philippe Dumont. Piron joins Nokia from GEA Batignolles Technologies Thermiques. ASN, which Alcatel-Lucent had tried to sell during its pre-Nokia downsizing, is currently run as a standalone business by Nokia and reported as patr of Group Common Functions, rather than as part of the Networks business. (See Nokia Reports Q4, Full Year 2015 Results and Eurobites: ASN, Cinia Hit 18 Tbit/s in Subsea Tests.)

  • Germany's Federal Cartel Office has approved a no-single-buyer rule relating to the purchase of rights to Bundesliga soccer action, reports Broadband TV News. The move, says the report, will be a blow to Sky Deutschland Fernsehen GmbH & Co. KG , which is currently the holder of exclusive rights to Bundesliga matches.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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