Telefonica’s Mickey Mouse commitments are irrelevant and ineffective
Will Almunia succumb to Merkel’s pressure and clear Telefonica/E-Plus merger with toothless Austrian like remedies (leased 2600MHz spectrum, WiFi, MVNOs) or stand firm, enforce the law and prohibit the merger?

May 2014
We have previously concluded, in a number of reports and research bulletins which are included in the file of the proposed merger between Telefonica o2 Deutschland and E-Plus (Case M.7018) that the only remedy that has the potential to eliminate the competition concerns entirely and could be effective from all points of view, as the law requires, is the actual market entry of a new credible independent 4th challenger MNO. Therefore the approval of the merger should be conditioned on the actual market entry of a new 4th challenger MNO. If no credible MNO entry materializes the Commission must enforce the law and block the merger.

Telefonica, following the Commission’s Statement of Objections, has submitted a set of initial commitments. Telefonica submitted a revised “sweetened” set of commitments after the conclusion of the first Market Test. In this analysis we discuss the real motive behind the telco consolidation push, we put Telefonica’s revised commitments to the test by scrutinizing their relevance/effectiveness and we conclude by laying out a set of effective commitments that could, if materialize, remedy the impediment to effective competition.

Report sections:

Why telcos are so eager to consolidate? Is there more to it than making the revenue share bigger for the post-consolidation MNOs?

The background and the aftermath of the dodgy approval of Orange’s Austria acquisition by Hutchison

Telefonica’s revised Mickey Mouse commitments are irrelevant and ineffective

What are the effective commitments that may lead to a credible 4th entrant and may remedy the competition impediment? Lessons learned from Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal in the US

What happens if no credible new entrant shows up to acquire the spectrum and Telefonica’s non-structural commitments (e.g. MVNOs) do not remedy in full the impediment of effective competition?

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