In the wake of recent mobile telecom mergers across Europe, Angeline Woods of Freshfields and Cristina Caffarra of Charles River Associates discussed the key legal and economic implications of the recent developments with an audience of practitioners and economists at a Law Society seminar.

The Competition Section at the Law Society organised this evening seminar following recent EU Phase II investigations and clearances of 4-3 mobile merger consolidations in Ireland and Germany. It is part of a series of seminars that explore the latest topics of interest in competition law.

Angeline Woods, senior associate in the Antitrust, Competition and Trade Group at Freshfields, discussed the evolution of the approach of the EU Commission to investigating mobile merger consolidation over the past 10 years and the key learnings for future cases. She said:

‘This is likely to have implications for consolidation in other oligopolistic industries.’

Cristina Caffarra, head of the European Competition Practice at Charles River Associates, added:

“The modelling tools which are typically used to predict merger effects are not well suited to situations where there are important investment dynamics. It is no surprise that if the EU Commission focuses on UPP/GUPPIs on the one hand, and merger simulation on the other, it finds material price effects. But both overstate the potential consumer price increase of the merger as they do not capture the need to invest in network quality. There is thus a disconnect between what these stylised models can do, and the longer term perspective of “investment efficiencies” argument - analyses need to evolve.”