It is only possible to conclude that either its case was always a feeble one that would never have stood a full MMC investigation or that the issues were never very important to BT - merely an excuse to pick a fight with the regulator. Years of regulatory grappling have taken BT repeatedly to the brink of an MMC inquiry, but it has always backed away. BT has vast resources and is better placed than most to cope with the strains of an investigation. If, as BT claims, regulation is so unfair and competition already well established and robust, then BT should have proved its point by going confidently to the MMC. So please Sir Iain Vallance, no more of this nonsense. Crying wolf never helped anyone.
There is really only one way of describing last night's capitulation by BT to all but one of the demands being made by the regulator, Oftel. BT is behaving like a wimp. After all the posturing and bluster of the last month or two, it has meekly caved in to everything Don Cruickshank was asking for bar paying for the costs of number portability. That issue will now go the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, but everything else has been accepted - this, despite BT's insistence that enough was enough and this time it was going to give the regulator a jolly good hiding.