A fresh skirmish broke out between TalkTalk and BT yesterday, after BT published a consultancy report in support of its proposed £12.5bn takeover of EE.
BT chief excecutive Gavin Patterson said the combination would create a “true UK digital champion”, while EE boss Olaf Swantee hit out at rivals who are trying to block the deal.
“Competitors only want to put up roadblocks, while we want to build motorways for the UK,” he said. These companies, he added, “prefer to stand still and sweat their existing assets rather than invest in the future.”
Both chief executives said the combination of BT and EE would be a boon to the UK’s businesses and consumers.
Talk Talk fired back that “the evidence of other markets and other industries” does not support this view.
The company, which is led by Dido Harding, said: “Quite simply, consolidation leads to reduced competition and a reduced incentive to innovate and, crucially, higher prices.”
This is not the first war of words Harding has entered into where BT is concerned – she has long been calling for Ofcom to break up the company and spin off its broadband network division, Openreach.
BT’s £12.5bn bid to buy EE was first revealed in December last year. Last week the CMA fast-tracked the deal to the second phase of its investigation after stating that it raised “significant” competition concerns.