Weko OKs UPC takeover

26 Sep 2019

Switzerland’s Competition Commission (Wettbewerbskommission, Weko) has raised no objection to the acquisition of cableco UPC Switzerland by full-service provider Sunrise. The watchdog approved the takeover without condition, noting that the merger would not strengthen a dominant position in any of the markets it analysed. Weko added that it ‘thoroughly examined the merger plan with a view to possible joint dominance of the market with Swisscom’ but found such an outcome unlikely, as the two firms have different positions.

Responding to the regulator’s decision, Sunrise CEO Olaf Swantee was quoted as saying: ‘Sunrise’s takeover of UPC Switzerland means that the country will now have a real competitor in its telecommunications market. By merging the infrastructures of Sunrise and UPC Switzerland and investing around half a billion francs annually, Switzerland will get high-performance Internet infrastructure including 5G, which has the potential to provide 90% of households with broadband Internet speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s by 2021. Both private and business customers will be able to benefit from state-of-the-art communication solutions that provide increased performance at better prices.’

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the terms of the takeover deal have been criticised by Sunrise’s largest shareholder – Germany’s freenet – leading to a clash between the company’s management and its shareholders.

Elsewhere, UPC has confirmed the launch of its previously-announced nationwide gigabit upgrade. The cableco revealed plans last week to make download speeds of up to 1Gbps available throughout its network footprint. The service went live on schedule yesterday, with the company claiming to be able to provide 1Gbps speeds to more than 75% of households. Severina Pascu, CEO of UPC Switzerland, said of the upgrade: ‘We are very pleased to be able to offer our customers first-class 1Gbps internet thanks to our high-performance cable network infrastructure – not only in large cities, but throughout our entire distribution area … Of the more than six million people who live in our distribution area, more than four million Swiss inhabitants will now for the first time be able to experience fast and reliable gigabit internet connections.’

Switzerland, Sunrise Communications, UPC Switzerland