Australia’s antitrust regulator has hurt competition

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s antitrust regulator has hurt competition by blocking a A$15 billion ($10 billion) merger between the nation’s third- and fourth-largest telecoms providers, the companies said in court on Tuesday as their legal appeal got underway. TPG’s barrister Ruth Higgins told the Federal Court competition conditions have “changed materially” since TPG began a plan to roll out a mobile network in mid-2016, and “that opportunity has been lost”. The ACCC’s lawyer Michael Hodge said the regulator believed TPG could take on the country’s largest telcos, Telstra Corp and Singapore Telecommunications’ Optus, even without the Huawei parts. “The prospect of snuffing out the only potential new entrant to the mobile market in Australia is a significant blow to competition,” Hodge told the court. ($1 = 1.4571 Australian dollars)(Reporting by Sonali Paul in Melbourne; Writing by Byron Kaye; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Muralikumar Anantharaman)Likes

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