Hutchinson/VimpelCom Italian mobile telecom merger cleared by EC, subject to conditions

The European Commission has approved the creation of a joint venture that will bring together Hutchinson’s and VimpelCom’s Italian subsidiaries (H3G and WIND, respectively). The clearance is conditional to a remedy package that will allow French operator Iliad to operate as a fourth Mobile Network Operator (MNO) in Italy. The remedy package includes spectrum divestments in the 900/1800/2100/2600 MHz bands, the transfer or colocation of several thousand mobile base station sites, and a transitional roaming agreement. The Commission was concerned that, absent the remedies, the transaction would have created a market structure where the proposed joint venture would have become the largest of only three MNOs in Italy and that this would have reduced competition in the retail and wholesale mobile telecommunications markets in the country. The Commission was satisfied that, given the remedies, Iliad will have the resources and expertise to operate as a fourth MNO and maintain effective competition in the affected markets.

A CRA team including Cristina Caffarra, Philip Kalmus, Valter Sorana, and Nitika Bagaria assisted Sky and Sky Italia, which were interested parties in the proceedings.

See the EC’s press release for further details here.