- Working groups
Brussels, 13 July 2023 – ETNO, the Association representing Europe’s leading telecom operators, takes note of the recent ECJ Judgement, related to the “O2/Three” case.
The judgement refers the case back to the General Court, which means that the Commission will continue using the existing toolbox for the time being. In any event, the Commission will continue judging merits of each individual merger on a case-by-case basis.
More generally, ETNO reiterates that telecom companies, who currently invest over €56bn/year in digital networks and services in Europe, need certainty as they invest in 5G and fibre. Sustainable competition remains key to future network investment and – as indicated in recent expert work – the current framework provides significant margins to better recognise efficiencies in merger cases.
In this context, we remind that creating adequate scale in the telecom sector is needed to roll-out 5G and fibre, which are a key lever to ensure European competitiveness on the global stage. The lack of scale has also been recently recognised in the European Commission consultation on the” Future of Connectivity”. In a joint industry response to the consultation, ETNO noted that: “European operators, who have a national base, will increasingly compete across markets with a range of players, such as tech giants or specialised software companies. The gap in scale will become an even more relevant barrier in 5G ecosystems, impacting the EU’s Open Strategic Autonomy”.