Four-to-Three Telecoms Mergers: Substantial Issues in EU Merger Control in the Mobile Telecommunications Sector

Kalpana Tyagi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article addresses the recent four-to-three telecoms mergers in the EU and factors such as deregulation and convergence that have provided impetus to the accelerated pace of consolidation. It seeks to find an answer to the elusive question: what is the magic that ensures the approval of the European Commission, is it the magic of the number of mobile network operators, or does some other factor exist, such as the magic of remedies? While looking for answers this article employs an inter-disciplinary approach, using insights from law, economics and corporate strategy. It emerges that there is indeed some magic: not an individual piece of magic but instead collective magic of numbers, of the relevant market and of remedies. Effective, clear-cut remedies with a structural dimension, as was the case in H3G Italy/WIND/JV, ensure the Commission's approval. Failure to submit suitable remedies, as was the case in H3G/Telefnica UK and TeliaSonera/Telenor, led to prohibition decisions and withdrawal of notification, respectively. The article also criticises the circular loop that the Commission is trapped in - with regard to design of remedies in telecommunications mergers - and underscores the need for a more innovative approach to remedial design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-220
Number of pages36
JournalIIC - International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


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