BT’s takeover of mobile phone network EE has been provisionally cleared by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
The £12.5bn deal was approved by the competition watchdog who said that it was unlikely to harm competition between the company and its rivals.
Chair of the CMA inquiry, John Wotton, said “The group does not provisionally believe that, in a dynamic and evolving sector, it is more likely than not that BT/EE will be able to use its position to damage competition or the interests of consumers.”
10 markets were analysed by the watchdog, who found that competition was unlikely to be affected in either of them.
The merger will see BT add EE’s 24.5 million direct mobile subscribers to the 10 million existing customers it already has, making it the largest telecoms provider in the UK.
BT, which mainly provides fixed communication services such as voice and broadband, is looking to take advantage of EE’s strength in the mobile communications service.
The CMA pointed out that these are separate markets and that competition in these markets would not be unfairly impacted as a result of the merger.
Rivals including TalkTalk and Vodafone have hit out at the plans, saying that the deal will concentrate market power.
Whether there is any risk to consumers in terms of price rises is also unknown at this point.
The CMA will publish its final ruling on January 18.
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