Europe’s Mobile Merger Problems not Echoed in Fixed Line Sector

The recent decision by the European Commission (EC) to block the combination of UK cellular operators O2 and 3, along with its opposition to a merger of mobile providers in Denmark in 2015 and the launch of an in-depth investigation into a planned tie-up between two cellcos in Italy, has signalled a tougher stance towards any threat to competition in wireless markets. The situation is very different, however, when it comes to deals involving fixed line players.

Has Europe Seen the End of its Telecoms Merger Heyday?

The European Commission (EC) has blocked the proposed GBP 10.25 billion (USD 13.8 billion) acquisition of Telefonica’s UK cellular operator O2 by the Hong Kong-based group CK Hutchison, which operates under the ‘3’ brand. This follows a failed tie-up between two cellcos in Denmark in 2015. Yet it was a markedly different situation several years ago, when the EC gave the green light to a raft of mobile mergers. So why is the EC now seemingly less receptive to such deals when it has agreed to them in the past?

Orange continues to flourish in Africa

A recent series of acquisitions will cement the position of Orange Group as the telco with the region’s widest footprint in Africa. In January 2016, the French group completed a deal to buy Bharti Airtel’s wireless businesses in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone, which will be carried out in partnership with Orange’s existing subsidiaries in Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal.

Singapore Swing: Mobile Market Set for Shake-up by Fourth Player

Although it can claim one of the highest cellular penetrations in the Asia-Pacific region, Singapore’s highly saturated mobile sector has been stagnant for some years, with little change in the market shares of the three main players, SingTel, StarHub and M1. All this is set to change, however, with the award of spectrum to a fourth operator later this year and its expected launch towards the end of 2017.