Guenther Oettinger, the digital commissioner for the EU, has stated that telecoms mergers are to continue at their current rate because regulators are looking to increasingly assess markets in a global context, rather than a national one.
I’ve decided to look into this development on a continuing story about the industry’s future in Europe.
Mr Oettinger’s stance clashes with that of Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s recently-appointed competition commissioner.
Vestager has taken a hard line against consolidation, recently ‘scuppering’ a deal between TeliaSonera and Telenor. The move put a stop to the mergers & acquisition ‘spree’ that has been taking place in Europe since 2013 across the continent.
The comments were made by Mr Oettinger to Reuters at a conference in Frankfurt recently.
He also said:
“I believe the consolidation process will continue – we have rather too many than too few companies in Europe,”
This comment clashes with the actions undertaken by Vestager, such as the rejection of the Telenor/TeliaSonera deal and a recent investigation into CK Hutchinson Holding’s acquisition of O2 in the UK.
Commenting on Vestager’s actions, Oettinger gave the response:
“She sets a lot of store by variety of offerings, by competition, that’s the one important factor. The other is that we need competitive companies who are big enough in the global competitive context.”
The difference between the two commissioners may become problematic in the coming months – the industry must anticipate whatever outcome materialises.
Avner Motaev is the director of Mobile2Business, a provider of telecommunications solutions to businesses in Austria. Mobile2Business is an official business partner of T-Mobile.