European Commission reacts to 3 Ireland's proposed O2 deal

Monday 03 February 2014 15.11
3 Ireland says it will respond to European Commission's concerns
3 Ireland says it will respond to European Commission's concerns

Mobile phone company 3 Ireland has confirmed that it has received a "statement of objections" from the European Commission on its proposed deal to buy O2 Ireland from Telefonica.

The statement sets out the Commission's concerns about the deal, which would see 3 Ireland, which is owned by Hutchison Whampoa, increase its market share to almost 40%.

The company currently has around 10% of the market.

The company said today that it would analyse the Commission's statement and would respond to its concerns.

It also said it believes that the O2 deal would increase competition and bring much needed investment to the Irish market.

"The issuing of a Statement of Objections was not unexpected in the context of a Phase 2 merger investigation and the previous statements by the Commission that it would take a close look at in-country telecoms mergers going from 4 to 3 operators", today's statement said.

"The Irish mobile market is currently characterised by one clear dominant market leader with the three other operators lagging behind.  Without 3's acquisition of O2 Ireland and the scale it can achieve, this gap will only increase," the company said today. 

"Competition in Ireland will be better served by three credible operators with sufficient scale to compete for a total market of 4.6 million, than by the current market structure," it added.