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Vodafone agrees Telefonica Deutschland wholesale deal to ease Liberty merger

Vodafone agrees Telefonica Deutschland wholesale deal to ease Liberty merger
FILE PHOTO: The Vodafone logo is seen at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Perez   -   Copyright  SERGIO PEREZ(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) – Vodafone will give Telefonica Deutschland wholesale access to its high-speed broadband network to help secure approval for its acquisition of Liberty Global’s cable business in Germany and eastern Europe.

Vodafone said Telefonica Deutschland would be able to market fixed-line broadband services over Vodafone and Liberty’s Unitymedia cable networks in Germany following the deal. The networks cover 23.7 million households.

Telefonica Deutschland has nearly a quarter of the German mobile market, second to leader Deutsche Telekom and ahead of Vodafone, according to a 2018 estimate by VATM, which represents independent telecom firms. But it is a distant third in fixed-line broadband, with just 5.9 percent.

Vodafone, the world’s No.2 mobile operator, agreed a year ago to buy Liberty’s cable networks in Germany and eastern European markets to challenge the dominance of former monopolies such as Deutsche Telekom.

The European Commission opened a full-scale probe into the $22 billion (17 billion pounds) deal in December.

Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone Group, said the cable wholesale access agreement enabled Telefonica Deutschland to bring faster broadband speeds to their customers, further enhancing infrastructure competition across Germany.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle in London and Douglas Busvine in Frankfurt; editing by Kate Holton)

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