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Oxera advises on second-phase telecoms merger in Belgium

Oxera’s competition and telecoms experts were instructed by Belgacom’s legal advisers to produce a report for the Belgian Competition Council assessing the risk of harm to competition from the merger. Oxera’s report focused on the risk of vertical foreclosure—ie, whether Belgacom would have the ability and incentive to harm competition by preventing other mobile network operators from using The Phone House to sell their services.

Following the economic criteria set out in the European Commission guidelines on vertical mergers, Oxera’s report concluded that the merger would not be expected to lead to reduced competition through vertical foreclosure as Belgacom would not be able to prevent rival mobile operators from accessing consumers through the many retail sales channels that are available.