Regulators end probe of big five EU telecoms firms over standards

EU antitrust regulators said on Thursday they were closing a preliminary investigation into Europe’s biggest telecoms firms over development of new technology standards for mobile services.

The European Commission, which acts as competition watchdog for the 27-country European Union, said it was satisfied that the operators had handed standardization work over to the GSMA mobile industry grouping and other sector-wide associations.

EU antitrust regulators said on Thursday they were closing a preliminary investigation into Europe’s biggest telecoms firms over development of new technology standards for mobile services.

The European Commission, which acts as competition watchdog for the 27-country European Union, said it was satisfied that the operators had handed standardization work over to the GSMA mobile industry grouping and other sector-wide associations.

It had been worried that work by five major operators – Vodafone (Newbury, UK), France Telecom (Paris, France), Telecom Italia (Rome, Italy), Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany) and Telefonica (Madrid, Spain) – risked shutting out competitors and harming consumers.

“The Commission welcomes this transfer, which allows more stakeholder participation.

It is a positive step that reduces the risk of standard setting work affecting competition negatively,” the Commission said in a statement.

(Rex Merrifield, Brussels newsroom)