BT’s merger with EE has now been given final approval by the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA).
The multi–billion pound deal, which was first revealed over a year ago, will result in the creation of a giant new company with a major share of the UK mobile and home broadband markets.
What does mean for you? And the wider mobile market? Here we pick apart the latest mobile merger.
BT is paying £12.5 billion for EE’s mobile network, snapping up 31% of UK mobile phone customers in the process.
The deal is worth more than the £10 billion Three's owner Hutchison Whampoa is set to pay for O2.
That acquisition has yet to receive final approval from European regulators.
Does this mean the deal is finalised?
Not quite. BT’s Openreach business, which looks after broadband, is under scrutiny by Ofcom.
The industry regulator appears to have concerns about how BT and EE coming together will affect the wider infrastructure of home broadband throughout the UK.
A report on that matter is due by the end of the month, and while it may recommend Openreach is spun off from BT, it’s unlikely to stop EE and BT becoming one company.
Will costs go up for consumers?
Prices for consumers are not yet clear and it hasn’t been revealed yet as to whether EE will continue to exist in the long term.
Because of EU rules, networks cannot put prices of mobile deals up during a contract.
But with fewer players in the market, there is understandable concern that the price of monthly mobile and broadband bills will rise.
What does it mean for rival networks?
The CMA is not worried about BT and EE merging.
The chair of its inquiry, John Wotton, said: “The retail mobile services market in the UK is competitive, with four main mobile providers and a substantial number of smaller operators.
As BT is a smaller operator in mobile, it is unlikely that the merger will have a significant effect.
Similarly, EE is only a minor player in retail broadband, so again it is unlikely that the merger will have a significant effect in this market.”
But Vodafone and TalkTalk are not happy. Both claim the deal could have an adverse affect on competition in both mobile and broadband, potentially driving costs up.
Can the competition stop the deal happening?
The Ofcom report could carry some leverage, but after the CMA’s ruling, it’s now highly unlikely that the BT EE merger will not go ahead.
Vodafone, TalkTalk and others may complain, but the battle for customers will soon have to be their focus as the new company begins to flex its muscles.