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New Zealand: Vodafone-Sky merger accused of trying to monopolize market

 |  August 16, 2016

The Vodafone NZ-Sky merger is facing criticism from the telecommunications segment, with submissions accusing the two of trying to squeeze the competition out of the wholesale premium live sport and entertainment content market, the retail residential fixed-linebroadband market, the retail mobile broadband market, and the pay TV market.

The New Zealand Commerce Commission on Tuesday published submissionsfrom Spark, 2degrees, the Coalition for Better Broadcasting, Trustpower, and the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand it received in response to the Statement of Preliminary Issues released last month.

Spark identified the main issue as being premium sport, claiming that it is “essential” content for being able to attract telecommunications customers. Were the merger to go ahead, Sky’s sport content ownership would extend into Vodafone NZ’s mobile and broadband offerings, Spark said, and “distort competition” in those segments — including to the detriment of the New Zealand government’s Ultra-Fast Broadband project.

“Sky/Vodafone will bundle a further, competitive, product with its monopoly sports rights, and in doing so will reduce competition for that product. There is likely to be less innovation and less digital distribution of pay TV content; increased barriers to entry and expansion, and reduced switching between broadband suppliers; and lower uptake of UFB,” Spark argued.

Full Content: ZD Net

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