Vodafone Ireland actively considers legal challenge to Hutch-O2 deal; seeks ComReg input on spectrum allocations

19 Jun 2014

The Irish Independent reports that Vodafone Ireland has commenced an industry consultation while it considers legal action over the European Commission’s (EC’s) recent decision to approve Hutchison Whampoa’s H3G Ireland (3 Ireland) unit to buy rival O2 Ireland from Telefonica of Spain.

Ahead of that, Vodafone has approached the industry regulator, the Commission for Communications Regulator (ComReg), to make it clear it believes the decision is ‘wrong’ and will ‘distort the market’ in the Republic. Further, the carrier will petition ComReg over its concerns that the EC decision will result in an unfair allocation of mobile spectrum – a key issue in determining how quickly 4G is rolled out in Ireland – and has urged the watchdog to now ensure that ‘all operators receive an efficient allocation of spectrum’. Vodafone’s move comes after the ratings agency Moody’s described the cellco as the biggest loser in the Hutch-Telefonica deal, which will strengthen its rivals but do little to ease competition for Vodafone – the market’s largest cellco by subscribers. The ratings agency has also downgraded its financial outlook for the group, which it says still lacks a credible fixed line offering to compete with the likes of Eircom and UPC.

Ireland, CK Hutchison, Hutchison 3G Ireland (Three Ireland), O2 Ireland, Telefonica, Vodafone Ireland