UPDATED with DG Competition's response to Rewheel's concerns. How low should the wholesale data roaming cap be in 2017 to avoid the distortion of competition in North-Eastern domestic mobile markets where retail gigabyte prices are competitive?
This research report was submitted to Commissioner Vestager and DG Competition on 30th May 2016, three months prior to the European Commission's announcment (link) of approving the merger subject to remedies.
[External article, POLITICO Europe] September 2015
“Neither Almunia’s [wholesale access] remedy in German and Ireland nor the exotic joint venture proposed remedies by Telenor and TeliaSonera in Denmark can remove the competitions concerns entirely in a four-to-three mobile consolidation,” said Antonios Drossos, managing partner at Rewheel, a telecoms consultancy.
- Ahead of its planned merger with Wind in Italy Hutchison Three has halved the gigabytes in its flagship 4G LTE smartphone mobile internet access plan and launched its own zero-rated (unlimited gigabytes at €0/GB) film store.
[External article, The Financial Times, subscription required] June 2015
Margrethe Vestager, EU competition commissioner, has thrown down a marker of her intent to curtail consolidation in Europe’s telecoms industry by dismissing suggestions that a wave of big mergers is needed to boost investment. Research from Rewheel, a consultancy, suggests that prices rise sharply following merger approvals, citing the tie-up between Hutchison and Orange in Austria. However, telecoms executives retort that price rises tend to be matched by an increase in data capacity or improved services.