I expect that some consumer concerns are going to impact the restrictions on the merger but the merger will go through. The biggest issue is that Vodafone the UK based company just got passed in market share by other carriers making them number 3.
Its a vibrant market and if O2 was allowed to become part of Telfonica, and has Hutcheson (branded as 3) representing other foreign investors in the space the consolidation of foreign investors is a good thing.
As for impact, I could make a case that 3 and Virgin will find a way to work together. By in large Richard Branson has lost his taste for Telecom is more focused on energy issues (even before smart grid became the fad). However, the opportunity may be with one of the other large players.
The analysis in the UK about the need for 5 wireless competitors should be put in perspective to the EU's over all view. The EU commission sees all the services as blended, as ultimately they are, so landline operators, cable and other technologies should be pointed out as reasons to think beyond the monopolistic fears.
On a worldwide scale the more interesting question is should we expect more of the same. I have often felt that T-Mobile and Sprint would be a good combination, but they do not have a common history in the US. But strangely enough, Orange has a past with Sprint, so maybe the ball will get rolling towards some US talks.
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