Three Ireland comments following the issue of the Commission’s Statement of Objections
3rd February 2014 – Three Ireland can confirm that it has received a Statement of Objections from the European Commission which sets out the concerns of the Commission in relation to Three’s proposed acquisition of O2 Ireland. We are analysing the Statement and we will be responding to the Commission’s concerns.
The issuing of a Statement of Objections was not unexpected in the context of a Phase 2 merger investigation and the previous statements by the Commission that it would take a close look at in-country telecoms mergers going from 4 to 3 operators.
The Irish mobile market is currently characterised by one clear dominant market leader with the 3 other operators lagging behind. Without Three’s acquisition of O2 Ireland and the scale it can achieve, this gap will only increase. Competition in Ireland will be better served by three credible operators with sufficient scale to compete for a total market of 4.6 million, than by the current market structure.
The acquisition of O2 Ireland will provide Three with the scale and financial strength necessary to compete aggressively in the market to the benefit of Irish consumers. It will give Three the means to challenge the number one player in the Irish market by rolling out a state of the art 4G/LTE network and providing the best value and service to its customers.
In our view, the acquisition will increase competition and bring much needed investment to the Irish market. Nonetheless, Three will put forward strong and effective remedies to address the Commission’s concerns. Three will detail these and other points in our response to the Commission’s Statement of Objections, and are confident that we can convince the Commission of the pro-competitive benefits of the proposed acquisition. We will continue to work with the Commission in order to achieve a positive outcome.