Reports are suggesting that European Commission (EC) competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager is set to give a green light to the proposed merger of Italian telcos Wind Telecomunicazioni and 3 Italia prior to the 8 September deadline. Bloomberg cites two unnamed sources as saying that Vestager will likely hold a press conference next week to announce her approval of the deal.
It is suggested that the commissioner has been swayed by the recent agreement which will see French firm Iliad taking over network infrastructure and wireless spectrum from 3 and Wind, enabling it to set up as a new mobile network operator (MNO) in Italy and thereby ensuring the wireless market still has four active players. The consolidation of Wind and 3 – and the consequent reduction in the number of active players from four to three – was seen as being the main concern for competition authorities. A similar proposed deal in the UK between 3 and O2 was knocked back by the EC earlier this year on competition grounds.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the combined Wind and 3 will serve more than 31 million subscribers and take top spot in the Italian mobile market ahead of TIM and Vodafone Italy. Wind is owned by Amsterdam-based VimpelCom, while 3 is a unit of Hong Kong conglomerate CK Hutchison.