Deutsche Telekom has had a long term interest in acquiring Tele2’s assets in Holland, but regulator’s insistence on preserving their policy of four operators per market

The European Commission could be set to approve Deutsche Telekom’s bid to purchase Tele2’s Dutch business, according to the Reuters news agency.

Sources close to the matter told Reuters that the European Commission was ready to approve the deal, following long term interest from DT. 

The saga began in November 2017, when Deutsche Telekom initially expressed an interest in purchasing the Dutch business unit of Tele2. However, at the move would have reduced the number of mobile providers in Holland from four to three, analysts speculated that the move would be blocked by regulators.

The telecoms industry has long called for a more relaxed attitude to market consolidation, claiming that the European Commission’s preference for four operators per market is creating unfavourable market conditions and driving down margins.

Only last week, the GSMA’s director general Mats Granyrd reiterated this claim at an industry event in London.

"The mobile industry needs to be allowed to improve market consolidation in order to drive investment by maintaining effective levels of competition," he said.

The EC’s decision to approve the Deutsche Telecom acquisition of Tele2 in Holland could be indicative of a softening in its attitude to M&A activity.

Deutsche Telekom and Tele2 are yet to comment on the developments.

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