The Chief Executive of EE has hit back at the “self-interested companies” trying to block his company’s merger with BT.
The two UK operators unveiled a report on Wednesday that talked up the benefits of the proposed tie-up, which was fast tracked by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority last week.
The CMA warned there was “a realistic prospect” of a substantial lessening of competition, particularly in relation to the supply of wholesale access and fibre mobile backhaul services to rivals, if the deal went ahead.
But Olaf Swantee said rivals preferred to stand still and sweat their existing assets rather than invest in the future.
“These competitors only want to put up roadblocks, while we want to build motorways for the UK,” he said.
BT Chief Executive Gavin Patterson was more conciliatory, promising that other companies operating in the UK would be able to benefit and compete through highly regulated, equal access to Openreach’s network, and wholesale access to the EE mobile network.
The report, commissioned by BT, claimed an integrated company would be well placed to address increasing demand for data and speed in fixed and mobile networks, as well as expectations of ubiquitous, seamless and reliable connectivity.
Further, it would put pressure on enterprises and the public sector to enhance productivity through digitisation.
Patterson added the new company would help to put “clear blue water” between the UK and its international peers.
He said: “The world is changing with customers wanting access to the internet on their terms.
“They are spending more time online than ever before and they want the best connection whether they are at home, in the office or on the move.
“Seamless connectivity is the future and we are keen to deliver the new, innovative services of the future.”
BT and EE, who claim to have invested £35 billion in the UK over the last decade, said they hope to close the deal by the end of March next year.