Altech permitted to contest MTN, Verizon deal

South African ICT firm Allied Technologies (Altech) has been granted leave to participate in merger proceedings between MTN Group and Verizon SA, it was announced on Monday.

The cellular operator MTN, which beat Altech to the deal to snatch the internet service provider for R1,4-billion, has passed the first of the two-part anti-trust scrutiny process.

Altech filed its application for intervention on October 28 2008. The Competition Tribunal heard this application last Friday.

Altech and other competitors such as Internet Solutions—a unit of Dimension Data—have voiced concerns around bundling, input, customer foreclosure, the removal of an effective upstream infrastructure rival and avoidance of regulation.

But the Commission found no evidence of this and passed the deal without conditions to the Competition Tribunal.

The Competition Tribunal will allow Altech to attend all pre-hearing conferences on the matter, adduce evidence and present arguments, cross-examine witnesses and inspect any documents presented by the participants in the processes.

The deal, if approved, is set to make MTN the third-largest internet service provider in South Africa for corporate clients, with a market share of about 10%. - I-Net Bridge

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