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Brussels, 16th January 2002

Commission clears purchase of European units of US telecoms company Global TeleSystems by KPNQwest

The European Commission has cleared the acquisition by KPNQwest NV of the European operations of Global TeleSystems Inc. (GTS), a US-based telecommunications operator. The Commission's review has shown that the markets concerned, which range from data communications services to Internet connectivity and access, would remain sufficiently competitive.

KPNQwest is a facilities-based, pan-European provider of data communications services controlled by Qwest Communications Inc, a US telecommunications company. It was jointly created and controlled by the Dutch telecommunications provider KPN Telecom BV and Qwest.

GTS is also a facilities-based pan-European provider of data communications services. Through its Ebone and Central Europe business units it offers a range of carrier and corporate data network solutions, Internet/IP services and web-hosting in 20 European countries.

Under the terms of a deal notified to the Commission for regulatory clearance on December 3, KPNQwest is buying both Ebone and the central European units.

The review carried out by the Commission has focused on the relevant service offerings where the activities of KPNQwest, Ebone and the other units overlap : carriers' carrier services, universal Internet connectivity, dedicated Internet access, Global Corporate Telecommunications Services (GCTS) and web-hosting services.

But the market investigation did not identify any competition concerns in any of the above-mentioned areas and showed that the merged entity would continue to face strong competition and competitive constrain from a number of large competitors both at European and world level in all areas of activity including of Internet connectivity services in Europe, where the merged entity will be a significant provider.

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