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Hutchison slams CMA's proposed remedies to Three-O2 merger

CK HutchisonHoldings Ltd. has slammed the Competition and Markets Authority'sproposed remedies tothe merger betweenHutchison 3G UK Ltd. and Telefónica SA's British mobileoperator unit O2, Total Telecom reported April 11.

Hutchison reportedly said in a statement that the proposalto divest either Three or O2's network to a new mobile operator would defeatthe merger's purpose and highlight the limitations of both companies in termsof spectrum and infrastructure.

The Hong Kong-basedconglomerate also argued that the CMA failed to refer to the capacity deals itstruck with Sky plc,Liberty Global plcunit Virgin MediaInc., Tesco Mobile and UK Broadband, which will ensure competitionin the U.K.'s mobile market.

Grocery giant Tesco is reportedly to take full control of TescoMobile, a 50/50 joint venture with O2. Hutchison also a five-year freeze on mobileservice prices for both Three and O2 customers.

Meanwhile, in an April 11 statement, Virgin Media CEO TomMockridge defended the Three-O2 merger, saying that it would provide analternative to other providers, such as the recently British Telecom and EE Ltd.

Mockridge also recalled that despite spectrum-relatedconcerns, the CMA approved the BT-EE merger without remedies.