Vodafone to shut down pager network after sale trips on competition hurdles
Vodafone said it was “disappointed” by the CMAs decision and that it made more economic sense to close the business.
The CMA had given Capita until 17 May to come up with solutions to allay concerns prices would be jacked up for customers.
“We will do our utmost to minimise the impact on the 1,000 or so customers still using the service”. Since then, demand for pagers has further diminished with the rise of smartphones and tablets.
Vodafone and Capita run the UK’s last two paging businesses.
In the age of the smartphone, pagers might seem outdated to some, but the device’s simplicity, network reliability, and battery life mean they remain popular among medics.
The company also rebuked the CMA, calling the decision “surprising”, given that no other European country has more than one pager provider.
Vodafone has been in talks with regulators for months but became frustrated by detailed requests for information it could not provide, according to sources close to the attempted sale to Capita. O2 and Orange long abandoned their paging networks which are still used by bird watchers and emergency services workers who need a basic but reliable alert service.
However, the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA’s) initial investigation into the deal, which was first announced in February, has found that it could lead to a “substantial lessening of competition” as both companies are the only suppliers in the UK.