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Vodafone moves to secure green light for Liberty Global deal

Vodafone Deutschland has struck a cable wholesale agreement with Telefónica Deutschland in a move designed ensure that the EC gives approval to cable giant Liberty Global’s sale of its Germany business to the operator.

Vodafone has submitted a remedy package comprising the cable wholesale agreement and a commitment to ensure sufficient capacity is available for OTT TV distribution to the EC to secure approval of the deal with Liberty.

The operator said that in combination, the wholesale agreement and OTT commitment would enhance broadband competition in Germany to the benefit of consumers and broadcasters.

The EC now intends to undertake market testing of the remedy package, which is expected to conclude during this month.

The cable wholesale agreement will allow Telefónica to offer high-speed broadband services to consumers on Vodafone and Unitymedia’s cable network in Germany, and is subject to the completion of Vodafone’s acquisition of Liberty Global’s operations in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania

Telefónica will be able to market broadband services over the combined Vodafone and Unitymedia cable network in Germany, which covers 23.7 million households.

The deal has been signed on a long-term basis, with Telefónica committed to achieving an unstated minimum level of customers over the term of the contract.

Vodafone said that it expected the Commission to adopt its decision on the Liberty transaction by July with completion occurring later that month.

“Our deal with Liberty Global is transformational in many ways. It is a significant step towards a Gigabit society, which will enable consumers and businesses to access the world of content & digital services at high speeds. It also creates a converged national challenger in four important European countries, bringing innovation & greater choice. We are very pleased to announce today our cable wholesale access agreement with Telefónica Deutschland, enabling them to bring faster broadband speeds to their customers and further enhancing infrastructure competition across Germany,” said Vodafone CEO Nick Read.

The European Commission has set a July 9 deadline for deciding on whether to give a green light to Vodafone’s acquisition of Liberty Global’s cable business in Germany and central Europe after the parties submitted their commitments yesterday. The Commission previously had set a deadline of June 18 to come to a decision.