Commish: Stop playing that Spanish jazz, Orange. Wait until we’ve done our homework

Prices of mobile/fixed offerings a cause of concern

Orange’s plans to take over Jazztel in Spain could hit a wall as the European Commission begin an investigation to determine if the merger is in line with EU competition law.

Both Orange and Jazztel operate fixed telco networks in Spain and the planned takeover would reduce the number of nationwide providers from four to three.

Although the merged entity would not be the dominant provider in Spain, the Commish is worried that the loss of competitive pressure for fixed internet access service, as well as fixed-mobile multiple play offers, would force up prices for customers.

Triple-play offers - comprising fixed voice, fixed internet, and mobile phone services - have become hugely popular in Spain in recent years. Telefónica and Vodafone, as well as Orange and Jazztel, offer such bundled services and the Commission is concerned that only integrated providers with fixed and mobile networks would be able to compete in this possible market.

It will also analyse whether a JazzOrange merger would reduce their Fibre-to-the-Home footprint, when compared with the current set up.

The executive body of the EU now has 90 working days, until 24 April 2015, to make a decision. ®

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