On 5 September 2012, the European Commission unconditionally approved a UK joint venture between Telefónica, Vodafone and Everything Everywhere to provide mobile commerce services. The European Commission conducted an in-depth, phase II investigation into the joint venture under Article 1 of the Merger Regulation after its preliminary investigation identified potential competition concerns. In the course of the phase II investigation the Commission found that alternatives to the mobile payment services which the mobile network operators propose to offer under the joint venture already exist. These include a number of services that do not rely on securing access to SIM cards from the mobile network operators to function. The mobile network operators also propose that the joint venture will provide advertising and data analytics services. The European Commission’s investigation indicated that there will be various competitors offering such services, who will have access to a comparable set of data.
The press release from the European Commission can be read here: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP- 12-938_en.htm?locale=en