Joaquin Almunia’s job is to defend the European single market. It falls to him to decide whether telecom operators should be allowed to merge. His competition commission recently cleared Telefonica Deutschland’s acquisition of E-Plus in Germany. The irony is that there is no single market to defend: such mergers entail remarkably few cross-border implications.
Each EU country has a different set of operators offering nationally confined services. Some of the 100 odd national outfits might belong to supra-national groups such as Telefonica, but for all intents and purposes they are separate entities. A customer of Telefonica’s UK subsidiary O2 still has to pay more when using Telefonica’s network in Spain. Contracts tend to be country-specific. The French company Bouygues cannot compete for customers in Germany.
source: The Conversation