The competition watchdog said on Thursday it had concluded that it does not have grounds for appeal, which would require the ACCC to establish an error of law by the judge, but expressed it’s disappointment on having to abandon its appeal.
“The ACCC remains disappointed by this outcome, which has closed the door on what we consider was a once in a generation chance for increased competition in the highly concentrated mobile telecommunications market,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
“The future state of competition without a merger is uncertain. But we know that competition is lost when incumbents acquire innovative new competitors.”
“Despite this outcome, we will continue to oppose mergers that we believe will substantially lessen competition, because it’s our job to protect competition to the benefit of Australian consumers,” Sims said.
The ACCC had announced its decision to oppose the proposed merger between TPG and Vodafone in May last year and following the decision, Vodafone instituted proceedings in the Federal Court in a case which was heard over three weeks from 10 September
And in February this year the Federal Court declared the proposed merger between TPG and Vodafone would not substantially lessen competition.
As reported by iTWire in May last year when the ACCC announced it would oppose the TPG-Vodafone merger, Sims said that “TPG is the best prospect Australia has for a new mobile network operator to enter the market, and this is likely the last chance we have for stronger competition in the supply of mobile services”.
“Wherever possible, market structures should be settled by the competitive process, not by a merger which results in a market structure that would be subject to little challenge in the future. This is particularly the case in concentrated sectors, such as mobile services in Australia.
“TPG has a proven track record of disrupting the telecommunications sector and establishing itself as a successful competitor to the benefit of consumers. TPG is likely to be a vigorous and innovative supplier of mobile services in Australia, offering cheaper mobile plans with large data allowances, and competing strongly against incumbents Telstra, Optus and Vodafone."