UK watchdog accidentally creates pager monopoly it was hoping to avoid

In other news: Pagers are still a thing.

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True story: Vodafone still runs a pager service, decades after the old-school equivalent of pop-up notifications fell out of fashion. And it's not even the only the company supporting this ancient tech, which is still used by a few businesses, doctors, emergency services and bird watchers, apparently. Capita also maintains a pager service and agreed to buy Vodafone's division and its roughly 1,000 customers in February. However, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced today that it has decided to investigate the merger, leading Vodafone to immediately abandon the sale and close down this part of its business altogether.

The CMA's concerns are pretty straightforward: The acquisition would leave the UK with one lone provider of pager services. This could lead to higher prices and a reduced quality of service. Standard CMA stuff, and the main reasons the merger of O2 and Three was blocked last year. But Vodafone isn't interested in cooperating with the CMA on a more thorough probe.

"Due to the expense involved with a prolonged investigation, Vodafone will not pursue the transaction and has made the decision to close down this business," the company told the Financial Times. The carrier also said it's surprised at the decision, considering no other country in Europe has more than one paging network.

Ironically, with Vodafone deciding to close the division completely, the CMA's fears of a monopoly player have actually come to fruition. Merger or not, Capita will soon be the UK's only provider of pager services.