The EU’s competition watchdog has opened a full investigation into the proposed acquisition of Belgian mobile operator BASE Company by domestic cable TV and broadband provider Telenet, which is part of the Liberty Global group. A statement released by the European Commission (EC) said that its preliminary review of the deal had found that it could harm competition in Belgium’s mobile sector, where BASE is the smallest of the three network operators and Telenet is the largest MVNO. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager commented: ‘We want to make sure that consumers in Belgium do not suffer higher prices and less choice as a result of this proposed takeover.’ A decision on the tie-up is due by 18 February.
Liberty announced in April this year that it had agreed a EUR1.3 billion (USD1.4 billion) deal to buy BASE from KPN of the Netherlands. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, BASE had around 21% of all mobile subscribers in the country at the end of June, with 2.8 million users, while Telenet claimed 953,700 mobile users at the same date.