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EC approves Dutch MNO merger but T-Mobile still in a weak position

The economic mess which is the Dutch communications market continued to grow last week, when T-Mobile NL’s acquisition of Tele2 was approved without conditions by the European Commission. Any regulator that allowed Liberty Global’s UPC to buy fellow cableco Ziggo, to create a de facto monopoly in both broadband and TV; and then let it merge with Vodafone to create a local telco challenger; can hardly get upset when the third and fourth-placed mobile operators try to huddle together for warmth. Initially the Commission had expressed grave doubts, but realistically, it had little chance of blocking the deal, given the previous developments. The Commission did go to all the trouble of running an in-depth investigation, which has taken almost a…

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