Cable & Wireless Optus has complied with a request from The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to withdraw its bid for AAPT.
"After extensive market inquiries, consultants' reports, economic and legal advice and consideration of the issues involved, the ACCC advised Cable & Wireless Optus that it had serious concerns that the acquisition would have the effect of likely effect of substantially lessening competition in a number of telecommunications markets," Professor Allan Fels, ACCC chairman, said yesterday.
The commission indicated that it considered AAPT to be a "vigorous and effective competitor" whose removal would raise issues under the Trade Practices Act.
Interviews with a range of customers had indicated they felt only Telstra, C&W Optus and AAPT could meet their needs, Fels said.
In addition, ACCC concluded that it would take a significant time for a new entrant to establish the breadth of wholesale network services delivered by AAPT.