Vodafone And Hutchison Merger Goes Ahead

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The proposed merger between Vodafone Australia and Hutchison 3G Australia (aka 3 Mobile) has been approved by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The merger was in doubt after the ACC was concerned that it might harm the Australian mobile phone market and potentially be anti-competitive.

Among a lengthy list of issues, the commission was concerned that the removal of Hutchison as a “vigorous and effective competitor” will lead to increased prices for retail mobile telephony and mobile broadband services.

However, after reviewing the merger they found in favour of the two companies and the proposed merger will go forward without opposition. Vodafone and Hutchison naturally welcomed the decision of the ACCC and intend to complete the merger transaction within the next two weeks to form a 50:50 joint-venture that will be known as Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA).

Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone Asia-Pacific & Middle East Region and proposed Chairman of VHA said, “The ACCC’s decision confirms our view that this merger will be good news for Australian customers. VHA will be a stronger mobile company, more competitive and more capable of providing an even better deal for customers.”

Nigel Dews, CEO of Hutchison Telecoms and proposed CEO of VHA, said: “Our first priority is to retain the best elements of both independent brands. The next step is to apply the combined scale and resources of VHA to deliver real benefits to all customers.”

VHA will continue to market products and services under the Vodafone and 3 brands and all respective network arrangements, caps and plans, retail outlets and customer service capabilities will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future.

As confirmed earlier in the week, the companies’ respective approaches to mobile phone and mobile broadband pricing, which allow customers to acquire devices for $0 on 24-month contracts, will remain in place for the next two years. VHA also confirmed that all Vodafone and 3 mobile handsets and mobile broadband devices will continue to operate as normal, and all customers’ phone numbers and account credits remain the same.

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