Mobile iPhonesource: PC Advisor
published: 11 February 2016

Three still wants to buy O2, but Ofcom’s chief executive Helen White isn’t happy – so much so, she last week openly expressed her misgivings in The Financial Times’ letters page ahead of a preliminary ruling from the European Commission. We look at how the deal, which would make Three the UK’s largest mobile network, could affect consumers.

White’s main grounds for concern regard competition, which could see consumers forced to pay higher costs as they have in Austria, Germany and Ireland where similar deals have previously taken place.

Hutchison CK (which is the parent company of Three) has responded with some guarantees for consumers, reports The Week. Its co-managing director and Three UK’s chairman Canning Fok has guaranteed that customers “will get more and pay less” – Three will freeze call, text and data costs for five years following the merger.

Three’s promises to consumers:

  1. Three will invest £5bn in the combined company over the next five years, which is 20 percent more than what the two companies would have invested on their own
  2. Three will also offer smaller rivals unprecedented shared ownership interests in its network capacity to ensure effective competition
  3. Three won’t raise the price of calls, texts or data for five years following the merger
  4. Cost efficiencies will be shared so that “like for like, customers’ bills will go down”

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