The European Commission has cleared the proposed merger of Orange UK and T-Mobile UK. As previously rumoured, the agreement is subject to the amendment of an existing network sharing agreement with '3' (Hutchison 3G UK) and getting rid of a quarter of the combined 1800MHz spectrum of the two companies. As a result, the Office of Fair Trading has withdrawn its request to have the case reviewed in the UK.
The EC says its investigation showed that the transaction could have jeopardised T-Mobile's Radio Access Network sharing agreement with 3UK, which could have threatened 3's viability. It also noted that the combined amount of 1800 MHz spectrum would be significantly larger than any of the merged company's competitors, which could have made it the only operator in the UK able to offer fast next-generation mobile data services through Long Term Evolution technology.