Saturday 27 December 2014

Vodafone mulls legal action on EC permission for O2 purchase

Published 19/06/2014 | 02:30

Photo: Jason Alden/Bloomberg
Photo: Jason Alden/Bloomberg
Vodafone logo

Vodafone Ireland has begun industry consultations as it considers legal action over the European Commission's decision to allow Hutchison Whampoa, trading as 3 Ireland, to purchase O2 Ireland from telecoms multinational firm Telefonica.

The firm is understood to have contacted the Commission for Communications Regulator (Comreg) about the issue. Vodafone believes that the decision, made two weeks ago, was "wrong" and "will distort" the market here. It also believes that the decision could result in "unfair" distribution of spectrum, which is a key issue in determining 4G rollout in Ireland. Publicly, the operator has urged Comreg to now ensure that "all operators receive an efficient allocation of spectrum".

Vodafone has been described by the ratings agency Moody's as the main loser of the €780m Hutchison-Telefonica deal. The agency said that the deal will strengthen Vodafone's rivals in Ireland while not easing competition for the country's biggest operator here.

Moody's, which recently downgraded Vodafone's financial outlook, also said that the operator's "continued lack of a compelling fixed-line offering to compete with Eircom and UPC" would also challenge the operator's business in Ireland.

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