Brussels approves with conditions the purchase of the Belgian companies VOO and Brutélé by Orange

BRUSSELS, March 20. (-) –

The European Commission has given its approval this Monday to the purchase of the Belgian operators VOO and Brutélé by Orange, although the authorization of the operation conditions its competitor Telenet to have access to the existing fixed network for at least the next ten years and to the future fiber network for wholesalers in part of the country to avoid competition problems.

The commitments agreed between Orange and Brussels respond to concerns identified by community services during an in-depth investigation opened last July for fear that the purchase would reduce competition in the retail markets for internet and audiovisual services in Belgium.

The Community Executive was concerned that the purchase of Voo and Brutélé would go from three to two providers for users in the Wallonia region and in parts of Brussels, in addition to considerably reducing competition in a market in which Orange is a competitor directly from the two firms it acquires.

Telenet, owned by Liberty Global, is one of the main telecommunications operators in Flanders (northern Belgium), and the Commission considers that the access conditions negotiated with Orange will pave the way for its entry into the Walloon region in the immediate future.

In this way, the access search engine in the VOO and Brutélé networks will become Telenet instead of Orange during the ten-year period and this, in the eyes of Brussels, solves the competition problems initially identified.

The Community Executive thus gives permission for the purchase but specifies that such authorization is pending “full compliance” with the agreed commitments.

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