CMA launches investigation into Vodafone and Three merger

The Competition and Markets Authority has begun its Phase 1 investigation of Vodafone UK’s joint venture agreement with Three UK, examining its potential impact on consumers and businesses.

The process, which will take up to 40 days, has begun with CMA receiving the required information from both parties, as well as early views from stakeholders.

The review is designed to identify whether the deal may lead to a ‘substantial lessening of competition’ and if so, whether a more in-depth Phase 2 investigation is required.

Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive of the CMA, said: “This deal would bring together two of the major players in the UK telecommunications market, which is critical to millions of everyday customers, businesses and the wider economy.

“The CMA will assess how this tie-up between rival networks could impact competition before deciding next steps.”

Three UK and Vodafone UK have both responded to the CMA.

Robert Finnegan, CEO of Three UK said: “We are confident that this transaction will deliver significant benefits to our customers, the country and competition, and we will work closely with the CMA as they review our notification.”

Ahmed Essam, CEO of Vodafone UK added: “We strongly believe that the proposed merger of Vodafone and Three will significantly enhance competition by creating a combined business with more resources to invest in infrastructure to better compete with the two larger converged players.”

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