The planned merger between Vodafone and Hutchison announced in February is under threat, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) delaying its final decision on the deal after seeking further information from each party.
The two telcos are combining their operations, with each company having a 50 per cent stake in the new firm to be known as Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA).
While having received the support of HTA shareholders, Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board and the European Commission, the ACCC is worried the joint venture may have a negative impact on prices in the mobile phone market.
The ACCC is also concerned that existing network-sharing relationships between Vodafone and Optus, and Hutchison and Telstra could lead to anti-competitive coordination under the merger.
VHA was supposed to be ready for business by mid-year.