Vodafone eye T-Mobile buyout - will consumers win or lose?

29 June 2009

It might spark an excitable price war and change the whole structure of the UK mobile market, should it sneak past the Competition Commission. Or it may mean far fewer price cuts as competition is reduced. Or it may never happen. Such are the vagaries of reporting news from the bleeding edge of time. And it's not even proper news since it's only rumour and speculation. We're dealing in pseudo-news here, people: Vodafone is considering a move to buy T-Mobile UK, which is valued at up to £4 billion.

T-Mobile has under-performed for several years and Vodafone are thought to be keen to buy up the business, or at least form a partnership as they've done in other countries. A gestalt entity that brings the two together would dominate the UK mobile market, accruing 40 per cent all mobile revenue. O2 currently enjoys 27 per cent share, Orange has 22 per cent and 3 has a rather lacklustre eight per cent - though they have been doing their damnedest to shed customers recently.

A reduction in competition might mean less bitch-slapping and fewer promotional offers for the consumer, which in turn may attract the interest of the Office of Fair Trading and the Competitions Commission. However, there are other EU companies with dominant mobile providers of similar size and a similar number of smaller competitors, so there may be no case for Vodafone to answer should the deal occur.

[FT]

6 comments

  • Mark
    I'd rather Vodafone bought them than the alternative Three... I'd rather not try to convince someone who doesn't understand me that I actually want to cancel and not continue my service...
  • Smarky
    I hope they do, T-Mobile suck, there coverage is awful. If they keep the brand as a cheaper alternative to voda and use voda's signal, i'm all for it!
  • Jonah G.
    Wonder If It's worth getting a top notch phone with T-Mobile on a cheap 24 month contract as you might be able to cancel the contract when the t&c change due to the take over.
  • Graham
    T-Mobile only got a new CEO this week, which came from Orange after being CEO of Thailand, Romania and other countries. He isn't going to drop all that, just to join a sinking shop is he? This is age old media speculation, it was only in the paper 2 months ago with Three rumoured to buy out. No network is going anytime soon... T-Mobile is beginning to merge its 3G (not 2G) network with Three, its got a mission to complete. Maybe in a year or two but not now. All the UK networks are owned by FAT companies, none of them need to give up. Not even three... although it did just that in oz.
  • JimmyJimBob
    Well, since 3, vodafone and t-mobile are all maintained by Ericsson this is possible, but doubtful, as I don't think there is much for VF to gain...
  • DD
    When the TMobile Sale/Swap goes thru with Vodafone or O2 or whoever (as if I care!) - will that give me an opportunity to cancel my contract with TMobile? I have been with them since July 2008 and expiring on Aug 2009. The service is really good when I am in and about - but really crap at my residence. May dropped calls and SMS's - Only reason I never gave up earlier was I got a great deal wth them for Touch HD. If I do get a chance to cancel - will I need to return the phone ? Ofcourse, I wouldnt mind hooking up with O2 for an iPhone !!! Anyone knows?

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