It has been announced that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had provisionally approved the takeover of EE by BT.

The CMA believes that the takeover will not have a negative impact on competition in the mobile phone industry in the UK. Following the announcement, BT’s shares rose by 3%. The deal will see the creation of a telecommunications giant with BT providing mobile phone services, TV, landline services and broadband.

The number of BT retail customers will more than treble as a result of the takeover ‒ it already had around 10 million customers and EE has more than 24 million customers. The chair of the CMA inquiry, John Wotton, said that the takeover will not “damage competition or the interests of consumers”. The inquiry pointed out that the two companies are working mainly in different areas.

The chief executive of BT, Gavin Patterson, said the takeover could be good for the UK, as it will mean more investment and innovation in a very competitive market; however, there are signs that Ofcom may decide that BT should break up its broadband section Openreach.  Rival companies have called for the infrastructure and installation sector of the company to be a separate entity, as they believe this will help to improve competition in the sector and ensure better service for consumers.

The CMA said that it is aware that there are concerns about Openreach and that this is being investigated by Ofcom. The CMA will be looking at the response to its provisional decision on the EE takeover and its final report will be made available in January.