GO
Loading...

EXCLUSIVE-Hutchison ready to sell spectrum to get O2 Ireland - source

(Adds Hutchison comments)

BRUSSELS, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Hutchison's Three Ireland is prepared to sell radio spectrum and continue a network sharing deal with another rival in order to win EU approval of its $1 billion bid for Telefonica's O2 Ireland, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

"Hutchison will offer to sell spectrum to MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) and guarantee to keep in place a network sharing agreement with eircom," said the person.

The source said Hutchison would submit its offer to the European Commission within two weeks.

The EU competition authority opened an extensive investigation into Hutchison Whampoa's proposed takeover of 02 Ireland more than three months ago, saying it was concerned the number of mobile players would fall from four to three in Ireland.

It also expressed worries about the effect on 02's network sharing agreement with the third biggest operator, eircom's subsidiary Meteor. It has set an April 24 deadline for its decision.

Hutchison confirmed it has not offered any concessions to regulators up to now.

"We haven't put any remedies forward, whatever is being said is speculative. Hutchison has said that it is very happy to produce strong remedies as it wants a positive outcome as soon as possible," said company spokesman Neil McMillan.

(Editing by Greg Mahlich)