The European Commission has approved a merger of the UK mobile divisions of France Telecom and Deustche Telekom, better known as Orange UK and T-Mobile UK respectively.
The combined company will be the largest mobile telephony provider in the country, with a 37% market share. However, the EC said it was confident that sufficient competition would remain in the UK mobile market.
Earlier this month, the UK’s Office of Fair Trading called upon EU competition regulators for an enquiry to be conducted by UK authorities, arguing that “the joint venture threatens significantly to affect competition in mobile telecommunications in the UK". However, today the OFT withdrew that call.
Many of the mobile networking operators are currently seeking to grow their business-to-business offerings beyond mobile telephony. Both O2 and Vodafone launched enterprise unified communications offerings last year, while France Telecom unveiled a range of cloud computing services under the Orange Business Services brand in December 2009.