Competition and Markets Authority has made a request to the European Commission for it to refer the proposed merger of Virgin Media and Virgin Mobile with O2 to the UK regulator.
Although the £30 billion merger falls under the remit of the Commission, it can subject to the Commission’s agreement be transferred to the CMA.
The CMA believes that the case should be transferred given its potential impact on competition in several retail and wholesale telecommunication markets in the UK.
Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive at the CMA, said: “We’ve sent a formal request to the European Commission to review the proposed deal between Virgin and O2. Ultimately, this is a decision for the EC, but as the merger will only impact UK consumers – and any effects would only be felt after the end of the transition period – it is only right for the CMA to request it back.”
The 50/50 joint venture is expected to complete during 2021.
The O2 mobile network is the largest in the UK with 34 million customers including the Tesco Mobile and Giffgaff. Virgin Media has 5.27 million broadband subscribers, 3.69 million TV subs and 3.18 million mobile telephony customers.