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Vodafone has pulled the sale of its paging unit and will turn off network later this year after the competition watchdog refused to clear the sale of the small division.

The dramatic decision to turn off the network follows five months of talks with the Competition and Markets Authority which has demanded what Vodafone believes are unreasonable remedies.

“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,” a spokesman said.

The sale to Capita, which runs the Page One pager network, would have created a monopoly player in a very small market for the services. O2 and Orange long abandoned their paging networks which are still used by bird watchers and emergency services workers who need a basic but reliable alert service.

Around 1,000 customers will have to transfer to another system when Vodafone switches off the network.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

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