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