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BT looks to fast track EE takeover probe

BT is looking to speed up the process of investigating its EE takeover as it rejects anticompetitive claims.

The UK telecoms giant agreed to purchase the country’s biggest mobile network, EE, for £12.5bn back at the beginning of February.

However, there are set to be months of scrutiny as rival companies protest against the potential monopoly that could arise from the deal.

This has led BT to request a speed up of the initial stages of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation. If successful, this would see the investigation rapidly skipping to its second phase.

The CMA will confirm whether BT’s petition has been successful in three weeks.

BT has attempted to dispel fears over the size and power of the new combined company, claiming that “the acquisition will be good for competition, investment and innovation in the UK,” and that “consumers and businesses will benefit as a result.”

According to BT, competition will not be eroded in either the fixed line or mobile markets because the number of competitive operators in both will remain the same.

It also claims that “The ability of BT’s landline and mobile rivals to compete with BT using its arms-length Openreach network will be unaffected by the acquisition.”

BT chief executive Gavin Patterson insists that the company will continue to make its considerable network spectrum available to rivals, and claims that “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.”

Read More:
BT EE deal: Is it a good thing for customers?

When it comes to the lucrative quad-play market, which sees companies offering all-in-one broadband, landline, mobile and TV packages, BT points out that the EE deal will actually improve competition.

“Virgin Media and TalkTalk are the current leading providers of such services and BT’s presence will lead to greater competition and better deals,” the company says.

BT expects that the EE deal will be wrapped up by the end of March 2016.

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