Hutchinson/Vodafone merger in doubt

The ACCC has called into question the proposed merger between telecommunication companies Vodafone and Hutchinson, believing it could affect competition in the industry, and lead to increased retail prices on mobile phones and broadband services.

“The ACCC is concerned that the removal of Hutchison as a vigorous and effective competitor will lead to increased prices for customers in the retail mobile telephony and [mobile broadband] services segments in the retail mobile telecommunications services markets,” the regulator said in a statement last night.

The joint venture dubbed VHA and announced in February would mean the two companies would have a combined total of 6 million customers and revenues of approximately $4 billion for the 12 months ended 30 June 2008 (read the full story here).

The ACCC is currently seeking submissions from the telecommunications industry on the merger up until 17 April, and will make a final decision by 6 May.

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