Despite owning large shares of independent markets across Europe, the continent’s major operators have reportedly entered talks with the view to creating an EU-wide mobile network capable of uniting national markets, the FT reports.

According to the newspaper, telecoms executives from Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, Telecom Italia and Telefonica met with the EU’s competition chief to discuss the idea, which would better allow the companies involved to compete in a fragmented European market.

By combining resources, it is believed that the operators will be able to weather a difficult European financial climate and head off competition from other technology companies that leverage their networks.

According to the FT’s sources, it won’t all be plain sailing for the operators. They are likely to face opposition, not from the European Commission, but “the [EU’s 27 national] regulators.”

Should such a plan be successful, Europe’s mobile networks could operate similarly to China’s mobile landscape, where three major companies control billions of mobile subscribers. It would also open the door to lower roaming charges, as well as a uniformed pricing structure across the continent.

Another idea put forward leans on the idea that operators won’t need to merge in order to better compete.

According to the FT, the carriers may be able to form a holding company that brings together the network infrastructures of each party and allows them to use resources on a wholesale basis, rewarding those that invest and develop the existing structure, ultimately offering more to consumers.

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