CERRE study on mobile communications markets draws attention across Europe


Last September, CERRE published a ground-breaking study on market consolidation in mobile communications. The findings of that study - that mergers lead to significant growth in investment per operator while prices also increase, though at a lower rate, and that as such, there is a trade-off to be considered by competition regulators when assessing a 4-to-3 merger in the mobile sector – are generating significant discussion amongst policy-makers, regulators and the industry at large. The study’s authors, Professor Tommaso Valletti (CERRE, Imperial College London & University of Rome), Professor Frank Verboven (KU Leuven) and Dr Christos Genakos (Athens University of Economics and Business) have presented these findings at a number of events and meetings across Europe.

Most recently, the report was presented in front of a packed audience at the annual conference of the Association of Competition Economics, which took place at Bocconi University in Milan. The report has also been presented to regulators such as the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority, as well as to senior staff of the European Commission’s DG Competition. It has also been discussed with the private offices of Commission Vice-President Ansip, Commissioner Oettinger and Commissioner Vestager.

While, not surprisingly given the political sensitivity of the issues at stake, a number of stakeholders, including within some of the above-mentioned institutions, are challenging on various grounds the finding of this study, the latter’s impact is a testament to the ambitious scope of the research and the quality of the authors’ work. Moreover, it is typical of the activities undertaken by CERRE – scientifically rigorous research, tackling timely and relevant issues for industry and producing concrete policy recommendations for decision-makers.