The long-awaited decision on the proposed merger between Three and O2 hit the headlines recently, with the European Commission’s verdict blocking the takeover deal between the two networks. The merger would have reduced the number of operators with network infrastructure ownership from four to three, in a move that would have drastically damaged competition in the market.
24 Seven has always supported a healthy telecoms industry, one that promotes both market growth and customer satisfaction. As an industry innovator, we provide solutions that form an alternative to the giants of the industry, the big names like BT, EE, and O2, who dominate the market but don’t always offer the best prices or services.
Currently, Three and EE are partners on one side of the UK’s sharing network, with O2 and Vodafone joined on the other. The merger would have seen Three and O2 with ownership across the entire network, dominating an even larger chunk of what’s available for customers who rely on telecoms and connectivity services every day.
24 Seven welcomes the decision to block this £10.25 billion merger. The future of our industry depends on maintaining competition, and it’s good to see the views of the European Commission aligned so strongly with the UK’s regulators. UK mobile prices are currently among the lowest in the EU, with 4G technology widespread across the country.
Decisions like this are industry-defining, and while they shouldn’t be taken lightly, it’s also our view that this resolution was drawn out beyond rational timescales. Reform and growth in our sector can happen on many levels, and we call for speedier, clearer decision-making that will enable regulators to form better relationships with telcos and customers alike.
Rumours continue to circulate about an £8.5 billion management buyout, and a number of companies have already expressed an interest in snapping up a portion of the telecoms giant, which is owned by Spanish firm Telefonica.
With yet more uncertainty in the market, the future of UK telecoms remains, as ever, unpredictable. It is unclear what will happen next for O2 and its raft of potential buyers, but the chances of Hutchison’s Three being part of the deal are now looking increasingly slim.
It’s never been more important for businesses like 24 Seven to consistently provide a real alternative to the big names in the industry. It’s through our dedication to providing honest, efficient services and prices that we build and maintain excellent customer relationships, and ultimately, better business for all.