Scandinavian telecoms operators TeliaSonera and Telenor are planning to submit revised concessions on their planned Danish merger to the European Commission (EC), after an offer to sell mobile spectrum to a new player fell short, Reuters reports. According to two people close to the situation, the duo received negative feedback from the EC antitrust regulators on the initial proposals submitted on 12 August, and are expected to present their revised commitments in the coming weeks, including the option to sell additional spectrum to the market’s smallest player, Hutchison-backed Hi3G, in order to secure the approval.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Telenor and TeliaSonera (which operates as Telia in Denmark) unveiled plans to merge their Danish operations into a 50/50 joint venture in December last year. The EC opened an investigation into the deal in April, expressing concerns that it could reduce competition in the local mobile market and lead to higher prices for consumers. The Commission warned that Hi3G and incumbent operator TDC could struggle to compete with the merged entity. As such, the EC laid out its objections to the deal in June. In early August 2015 Telenor/Telia made commitments to the EC, which triggered a 15-working-day extension of the deadline to decide the case, from 16 September to 7 October. TeliaSonera and Telenor reportedly pledged to sell two blocks of 2100MHz spectrum to a new player, as well as to rent out up to 15% of their combined network capacity to the new rival.