ARTICLE: MERGERS - EUROPEAN UNION - TELECOMMUNICATIONS - REMEDIES

Mobile telecommunications mergers in the EU – Remedies revisited

The present article looks at key recent decisions on mobile mergers and examines the development of the Commission’s assessment of the respective remedies offered to overcome the competitive harm identified during the investigation. It describes the marked shift in the approach to remedies which occurred since 2015 and analyses the considerations put forward by the Commission in the assessment of remedies for mobile mergers. Special emphasis is laid on the relationship between structural and behavioural remedies and the value the latter can have in the form of effective granting of access to an existing infrastructure. The article sets out the circumstances in which access remedies can be successful and draws a comparison to ex-ante telecom regulation. The article concludes with an outlook for future Commission decisions on mobile mergers and highlights obstacles which the parties must consider when planning a mobile merger in Europe.

I. Introduction 1. In a much-noticed recent decision the EU Commission, for the first time in eleven years, [1] cleared unconditionally a four-to-three merger between two mobile operators when it authorised the acquisition of Tele2 by T-Mobile in the Netherlands. This is in contrast to a number of previous decisions where mobile mergers were either prohibited or only cleared with various, sometimes far-reaching remedies. 2. The present article looks at key recent decisions on mobile mergers and examines the development of the Commission’s assessment of the respective remedies offered to overcome the competitive harm identified during the investigation. It then concludes with an outlook on possible future Commission decisions and highlights red flags that the parties must consider

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Authors

  • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
  • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
  • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)

Quotation

Bernd Langeheine, Beatriz Martos Stevenson, Jan Przerwa, Mobile telecommunications mergers in the EU – Remedies revisited, February 2020, Concurrences Review N° 1-2020, Art. N° 92671, pp. 52-67

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