The European Commission has approved under certain remedies the acquisition by Vodafone of Liberty Global's cable business. Telekom criticizes the decision.
By imposing the conditions they did, the EU affirmed our opinion that the merger could not be approved in its originally planned form. What's more, the decision to only clear the acquisition under conditions shows that Vodafone will reach a critical size as a result of the merger.
Nonetheless, the fact remains:
- This merger will not create a single new broadband line, least of all in rural areas.
- The optical fiber rollout (FTTB/FTTH) in Germany will be further complicated by this merger.
We're used to competition. But we were not alone in our concerns about the merger. Nearly the entire industry reported to the European Commission that the merger would not support the optical fiber rollout in Germany – which is difficult enough as it is – but, in fact, will complicate it further.
Cable monopolies will continue to be created in the cable-served areas – supported by the privilege of automatic inclusion of cable TV fees in ancillary rental costs (Nebenkostenprivileg). This closes off an important market not only to Deutsche Telekom, but also to the entire sector.
We are convinced that the conditions demanded are not sufficient to prevent a negative impact on media and program variety.
We will analyze the decision by the competition authorities intensively and then decide whether a judicial review is necessary to protect competition.