Europe probes Orange-Jazztel merger over competition concerns

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Credit: Flickr / Supermac1961

The European Commission has launched an investigation into Orange’s proposed takeover of Spain’s Jazztel. France’s Orange already has a Spanish subsidiary, whose connectivity Jazztel resells as a mobile virtual network operator. Jazztel, founded by Fon boss Martin Varsavsky 16 years ago, is more of a fixed-line player, while Orange has both mobile and fixed networks in Spain. The Commission said in a statement that it is worried about the fact that the merger would result in just three nationwide fixed-line communications providers in Spain (the others are Telefónica and Vodafone) and, by reducing competition, allow the ISPs to increase their prices. Orange has proposed commitments to keep things fair, but the Commission doesn’t think they go far enough.

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The European Commission really can’t make up its mind on what it wants. On the one hand they say they want a single European digital telecoms market with a few big players straddling the continent but on the other, they’re worried about a little bit of Iberian consolidation. Make your mind up!

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