BRUSSELS, April 2 European Union antitrust
regulators will extend the deadline to May 28 to decide whether
to clear Telefonica's bid for KPN's E-Plus
unit in Germany, the European Commission said on Wednesday,
giving the Spanish company more time to submit concessions.
The deal has drawn intense regulatory attention as it would
reduce the number of mobile operators from four to three in
Europe's biggest market, raising the spectre of higher prices
The European Commission cited concerns about reduced
competition in the German retail mobile telephony and wholesale
access market when it opened an investigation into the deal in
December last year.
"The deadline in the Telefónica/E-Plus merger case has been
extended by 10 working days in agreement with the parties," said
Antoine Colombani, Commission spokesman for competition policy.
Telefonica had been due to present concessions on Wednesday
but will now have 10 more working days to do so according to EU
merger rules. Telefonica Detuschland spokesman Albert
Fetsch declined to comment.
The mobile operators should give up some radio spectrum to
safeguard competition, Germany's telecoms network regulator said
Rivals Freenet and United Internet have called on
the EU watchdog to force Telefonica to give them cost price
access to its German network and sell some of its prepaid brands
in return for regulatory approval.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)