BRUSSELS, July 30 (Reuters) - European Union regulators have extended to Nov. 27 a decision on Hutchison 3G's 1.3 billion euro ($1.59 billion) bid to buy France Telecom's Orange Austria to examine a proposal by the Hong Kong group to allay competition concerns.
The European Commission competition policy spokesman, Antoine Colombani, provided the new deadline which postpones a decision for about three weeks. He did not give any more details in line with the EU watchdog's usual policy.
The Commission stepped up their investigation into the deal last month, concerned that Hutchison's planned takeover would reduce the number of players in Austria to three from four.
The combined Hutchison 3G Austria, which operates under the '3' brand in Austria, and Orange Austria would have a 22 percent market share, behind No.1 player Telekom Austria's A1 and Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Mobile.
A person familiar with the matter said on Monday that the Commission asked for more time to examine Hutchison's deal with a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) allowing the new entrant to use its network in Austria.
The person declined to name the MVNO. Austrian media has previously reported that the MVNO is telecoms services provider Liberty Global's UPC.
The proposal is part of informal concessions considered by Hutchison, a unit of Hutchison Whampoa, which is controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing.
Opposition from the Commission scuppered Vodafone's plan to merge its Greek unit with rival Wind Hellas in February, a source had told Reuters, worried about the number of players reduced from three to two in Greece.
The EU enforcer has never commented on the matter.
The telecoms sector has been under pressure recently from tough competition, dampened consumer spending and the need to boost investments in high-speed broadband networks.