Three moves to block m-commerce joint venture

Three has urged European regulators to block the mobile advertising and m-commerce joint venture (JV) proposed by its rival UK operators.

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The operator sent an “informal representation” to the European Commission claiming the proposed JV from Everything Everywhere, O2 and Vodafone is anti-competitive and it should not be allowed to proceed.

Stephen Lerner, Three’s regulatory affairs director, said that under its proposed terms, the JV would curb competition and innovation in the UK market, and has urged European regulators to block it.

It is understood that Three has not yet filed a formal complaint because representatives from the JV have not yet filed for permission to launch the venture with the European Commission.

CEOs of the respective stakeholders in the JV claim the proposed services will be open to new members, including Three, when earlier questioned about the initiative’s openness.

The proposed JV, which will aim to act as a one-stop-shop for advertisers, retailers and financial companies to take their brands to mobile, will be submitted for regulatory approval before 2012 and is likely to face further scrutiny.

The collaborative move is a turnaround from operators’ earlier strategies of trying to launch such ventures individually and regarded as a response to see off competition from online brands, such as Apple, Google and Groupon, which have taken the momentum in the early phases of the mobile advertising and retail industries.

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