BRUSSELS, July 2 (Reuters) - EU regulators are set to approve British mobile provider Vodafone’s 1 billion pound ($1.57 billion) bid for fixed-line network operator Cable & Wireless Worldwide without conditions, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday.
World No. 1 mobile phone operator Vodafone unveiled the deal in April, to boost its capacity to offer fast-growing smartphone data services.
The acquisition will make Vodafone the leading player in fixed-line and mobile telecom services to British businesses.
“The deal is expected to be cleared without any conditions,” said the source, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.
The European Commission has set a July 3 deadline for its decision.
Last week, the EU competition watchdog stepped up its investigation into a bid by Hong Kong’s Hutchison 3G to buy France Telecom’s Orange Austria, worried that the 1.3 billion euro deal would reduce the number of players in Austria to three.
In contrast, EU telecoms chief Neelie Kroes has voiced support for consolidation in the sector. She told Reuters in an interview last month that mergers would create strong cross-border leaders able to invest in mobile and broadband networks to close the gap with the United States and Asia.
There are four mobile telecoms providers in Britain including Vodafone, and more than 40 virtual network operators that operate through the telecom networks.
CWW, which split from Caribbean-focused Cable & Wireless Communications two years ago, provides voice, data and hosting services to British government departments and companies while its cables span the globe.