CMA launches formal investigation into Vodafone / Three merger

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK has started its Phase 1 investigation looking into Vodafone UK’s joint venture agreement with Three UK.

The deal would combine the companies’ telecommunications operations under one single network provider.

Having now received the required pre-notification evidence and information from both Vodafone UK and Three UK, as well as early views from stakeholders, the CMA is starting its formal investigation. 

The CMA now has up to 40 working days to assess the deal as part of a Phase 1 investigation. This review is designed to identify whether the deal may lead to a ‘substantial lessening of competition’ and – if so – whether a more in-depth Phase 2 investigation is required.

Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive of the CMA, said:

This deal would bring together two of the major players in the UK telecommunications market, which is critical to millions of everyday customers, businesses and the wider economy. The CMA will assess how this tie-up between rival networks could impact competition before deciding next steps.

We now have 40 working days to complete this formal Phase 1 investigation, before publishing our findings and any next steps.

The CMA’s remit, by law, is to assess the potential impact of a merger on competition. It cannot consider other potential effects that a merger might have, for example, on access to personal data. National security concerns are a matter for the UK government, which may choose to intervene under the National Security and Investment Act if it finds concerns.

More information on the CMA’s investigation can be found on the Vodafone / CK Hutchison JV case page.


Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He has a interest in cyber security, and has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.

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