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Consumers could ‘lose out’ through BT-EE deal, says Which?

EE logoBT’s planned £12.5 billion (€16.8 billion) takeover of UK mobile operator EE could prove bad for consumers, according to fears raised by UK consumer body Which?

In letters sent to UK broadcast regulator Ofcom and the Competition Markets Authority last week, Which? asked both bodies to confirm what actions they will take so that consumers “don’t lose out,” claiming that this deal and Sky’s recent partnership with O2 would signal “significant change in the UK telecoms market” and should be “scrutinised in depth.”

“This deal would signal more significant change to the UK telecoms market, with O2 and Three also expected to merge. Fewer players in any essential market is rarely good for consumers,” said Which? executive director Richard Lloyd.

“The competition authorities must now look at both the proposed mergers and the market in the round to make sure that consumers are protected from unfair price increases or poorer service as a result of less competition.”

Last week, BT struck a definitive agreement to buy EE in a deal that will see the UK service provider make a major move into the quad-play market.

BT said that the deal will allow it to offer fibre broadband, WiFi and advanced mobile capabilities, while increasing its capacity for future investment and product innovation.

However, Which? claimed that while BT has initially signalled that savings from simplifying its network will be passed on to consumers, the bundling of services makes it “much more difficult for consumers to compare pricing.”

Tags: BT, EE, quad-play, Which?