European mobile market consolidation

20 July 2010

The planned merger of Vodafone and H3G in Australia has raised the question of what consolidation could occur in Europe, although a direct analogy is not appropriate because Vodafone is much weaker in Australia (#3 operator) than it is in the larger European countries, and so would face much more regulatory scrutiny in Europe

The only merger opportunities in the top five markets which would have a similar or lower theoretical impact on competition (and hence would theoretically be as easily approved) in the top five European countries would be T-Mobile and H3G in the UK, Wind and H3G in Italy, and any operator with Yoigo in Spain

There are massive cost savings to be had from in-market consolidation, with network, marketing and general administration costs all fully overlapping between operators. The non-merging players would also enjoy a period of less competitive intensity, which may last indefinitely

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