United Internet: Vodafone/Unitymedia deal should not be approved

Montabaur, 9 May 2018. United Internet AG, the holding company of brands such as 1&1, GMX, WEB.DE, STRATO, 1&1 Versatel as well as the mobile telephony brands of Drillisch Online, is confident that the planned takeover of Unitymedia by Vodafone will not be approved as it would restrict competitiveness and lead to a duopoly of Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom in the most important infrastructure for Germany’s future. There will be no benefit to consumers because their choice of providers would be significantly limited.

The CEO of United Internet AG, Ralph Dommermuth, comments as follows:

“The announced merger would have an enormous impact on the competition in the German telecommunications market. Together with Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone would form a duopoly – two big players who basically share the market between each other. And all this without any benefit for consumers, as both Vodafone and Unitymedia are offering already Gigabit bandwidths and have announced further expansion of their networks. Hence, the planned takeover does not provide any added value for consumers but only a competitive advantage for Vodafone”.

Dommermuth continues: „Together with Deutsche Telekom, in the future Vodafone will be able to offer combined telephony / Internet / cable TV, and mobile telephony packages and dictate the market prices. Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone already control approximately two thirds of the German mobile market and after a takeover of Unitymedia by Vodafone would also own about 90 per cent of the German landlines for telephone, Internet, and TV. As such, I believe such a merger may not be authorised at all or at the most with significant remedies which will secure competition both in the fixed line and mobile market in the long term. This includes a permanent obligation to rent parts of the network to other fixed line and mobile operators.”