Vodafone’s CEO Vittorio Colao has strongly criticised the claims by Deutsche Telekom’s CEO Tim Höttges that its plans to buy assets from Liberty Global in Germany were “totally unacceptable” and should be blocked by regulators.
Speaking at the Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona, Colao rejected assertions that Vodafone wanted to shut down competition and create a monopoly in the German cable TV market, reports Reuters.
Colao said that he had to be careful about what he said in response to Höttges’ comments to avoid getting personal. “I was surprised by the comment from Tim. I believe that competition is good.”
Colao explained that the logic behind Deutsche Telekom’s opposition was interesting, given that it was the largest telco in Europe by market capitalisation and had the most connections into homes in Germany.
Höttges comments followed Vodafone’s confirmation on February 2, 2018 that it is “in early stage discussions with Liberty Global regarding the potential acquisition of certain overlapping continental European assets owned by Liberty Global.”
In Germany, the takeover of Liberty Global’s cable subsidiary Unitymedia would open the door for Vodafone to create a nationwide cable network through the combination with the Kabel Deutschland assets it bought in 2013. The new converged fixed-line and mobile operator would compete head-on with Deutsche Telekom on a nationwide level.
Currently, Vodafone’s German cable network covers 13 federal states with Unitymedia serving the remaining three while Deutsche Telekom offers its IPTV platform Entertain TV across the whole of Germany. In the mobile market, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom already compete on a nationwide level.