Hutchison Whampoa’s deal to acquire O2, along with the latter’s recent merger with Three, will finally create a genuine UK challenger for BT’s market share, according to CityFibre director of strategy and public affairs Mark Collins.
Hutchison Whampoa’s long-running acquisition of O2 from Telefonica was finally finalised this week (Mon 23 Mar). The £10.25 billion deal follows the merger of O2 and Three, announced at the start of 2015.
CityFibre director of strategy and public affairs Mark Collins sees the collective impact of both deals as positive – especially given BT’s own recent acquisition of competitor EE.
“It is in the market’s interest that a formidable competitor should arise,” he said. “Consolidation is the only way to combat BT’s ever-growing monopoly over both the retail and wholesale telecoms sectors. It is essential that a combined Three/O2 must have its own mobile fibre backhaul infrastructure network, independent of BT.”
He added that the recent activity shows mobile operators in the UK are “clearly demonstrating their appetite for independent, alternative infrastructure”. He gave the example of Hull as a city that has benefitted from supplier diversity.
“[It is] the first city where our framework agreement has been implemented and is already seeing 62km of alternative network infrastructure being installed,” he said.
“CityFibre can do the same for the rest of the UK, significantly boosting the economy in the process, if an environment where investors have confidence to continue investing is maintained.”
Hutchison Whampoa’s acquisition is due to be wrapped up by 30 June 2016. A statement from the company said the most recent deal, along with the acquisition of Three, will create the “number one mobile operator in the UK”.
The company’s group managing director Canning Fok hailed the deal as a “major milestone” in the business’s global growth strategy.
“The combination of Three UK and O2 UK will create a business with unmatched scale and strength that will allow us to better compete against other operators in the marketplace,” he continued.
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