Orange and T-Mobile to merge - deals or no deals for consumers?

8 September 2009

Well, that was quick. From planning on a joint venture yesterday to announcing it as a done deal today; Orange and T-Mobile are to merge their British operations to create the UK's largest mobile carrier. This new beast will rule over 28 million customers, around 37 per cent of the total mobile market. No, we don't know if it means you can cancel your Orange contract. Stop asking.

The new super duper company will cost between £400 million and £600 million to create (most of which will no doubt be pissed up the wall paying for a new logo and rebranding campaign starring Bruce Willis), but will in return deliver savings of around £500 million per year within five years. That's potentially good news for customers, less so for the staff made redundant and other "efficiencies" that are found in the joint operation.

There's still the likelihood of the Competition Commission investigating so it may not happen at all, but it'll be interesting to see how the current biggest player, O2, respond to the threat. Orange has traded on past glories for years, while T-Mobile has never established a solid proposition in the UK. They'll need some fresh thinking and new ideas for consumers if they're going to capitalise on their venture.

[ZDNet UK]


  • SJT
    maybe T mobile can stop Orange being so sh!t. I moved from '3' in February, and would happily move back - now that's saying something!
  • Noghar
    What about the really important issue? What are they going to be called? Orange T? Torange? T-Morange? My God. I won't be able to sleep worrying.
  • TFEB
    Here is what CEO of O2 UK said to his staff about it this morning: A message from Ronan We've woken up to the news that T-Mobile and Orange have agreed to a period of exclusive negotiations to form a potential joint venture company in the UK. As I told you in my note yesterday, this is not a big surprise. We've considered all of our own options very carefully and I believe the clear position we've taken is the right one for us. For T-Mobile and Orange this signals the beginning of a very long and uncertain period of negotiations, complexities, intrigue and regulatory intervention. This is a real opportunity for us. We have a clear understanding of the commercial and regulatory opportunities that we can seize and, naturally, we'll follow any progress with interest. The important thing for us is to remain focused on our strategy and not to let negotiations between T-Mobile and Orange distract us one bit. Our strategy of becoming the leading connectivity service brand with twice as many fans as our nearest competitor remains the right one. If T-Mobile and Orange combine, they’re embarking on a long and complex journey. It may make them bigger in due course, but it won't necessarily make them better, stronger, smarter or more appealing to customers. We’ll continue to focus on this as we strive to turn more customers into fans. That's how we will continue to lead the market. Naturally I'll keep you posted if there is any more news. Meanwhile I hope to see as many of you as possible on my travels around O2 this week talking about our vision for the future. Ronan
  • swampy_donkey The news, but as it happens.
  • In f.
    Orange are just trying to get back some of the customers they lost last month ;)
  • Paul S.
    swampy_donkey - think we reported on it last night before it made it to the BBC. And besides: The news, but as ripped off from Bitterwallet without attribution.
  • Liam
    I have always thought T-Mobile were cheaper than Orange, but Orange seems to have more incentives and bundles for customers such as Orange Wednesdays and the option of cheap broadband, phone calls etc... but Orange have lost the plot by increasing prices whilst the quality of services plumet. If Orange restart their IPTV offering, then there will be a big competitor to the quadplay market. I can't see any oposition to this other than from 3 as Voda and O2 wanted to buy T-Mobile themselves.
  • William s.
    Orange is going to get the iPhone along with T Mobile In October in the Uk, so who gives a fuck?
    I hope this will somehow intensify the competition between the major networks, reducing prices for the consumers. Not sure if that will happen though. These corporate bitches will do anything to rob us of our hard-earned cash.
  • Laurz
    I might have got this all wrong but those figures don't seem to add up to me. "merge their British operations to create the UK’s largest mobile carrier. This new beast will rule over 28 million customers, around 37 per cent of the total mobile market." We all know that not everybody has a mobile phone, young children and old people for example very rarely have one but for the sake of simplicity and to try to account for those who may have two mobiles i'll just assume that every person in the britain has a mobile. thats around 61,000,000 mobiles right? How does 28,000,000 equate to 37%? I make it more like 46%. And 37% is more like 22.5m mobiles. for 28m to be 37% of the market that would mean there are well over 75million mobiles in use in britain. Or am I missing something obvious?
  • Paul S.
    I think 75 million handsets isn't an unreasonable estimate. Plenty of people with a business handset also have a personal handset. Plenty of other folk have a regular mobile and a smart phone. And there are a lot of under 16's with handsets and plenty of over 60s. Don't lose too much sleep over it Laurz :)
  • Brian2
    "Posted by Paul Smith | September 8th, 2009 at 7:47 pm Plenty of people with a business handset also have a personal handset." So true, i have three handsets..... T-mobile, Orange and my beloved iPhone 3gs with Telefónica O2. I hope all three merge soon to save me some money on the monthly contracts.
  • Bob
    Great a large crap company. I wouldnt touch t-mobile or orange with a 50ft bargepole.
  • TFEB
    Your about right with the 75m million mobiles mate. Most ppl i work with have two. A work phone, a personal mobile and some have a third using mobile boradband. - Ok i know its not a mobile but the figures you are talking about will refer to sim cards in use

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