Rumours of a possible merger between Orange and T-Mobile have been stirring up since this Guardian story appeared on Sunday. Bids of £3.5bn to buy T-Mobile were received from Vodafone and o2 but rejected. Both bids were low because o2 and Voda would have to give up a spectrum they were allocated back in the 1980s should the deal complete.
Orange and T-Mobile – third and fourth largest mobile operators here in the UK – will now merge in a deal which will give them 28 million customers, 37% market share and a massive network. A quarter of T-Mobile subscribers are actually Virgin Mobile customers, with Virgin using the T-Mobile network. Gervais Pellissier, Chief Financial Officer at France Telecom (owners of Orange) stated..
“By combining our operations in the UK, we anticipate the long-awaited consolidation in one of Europe’s most competitive markets, thereby creating a well positioned player.”
Tom Alexander, CEO of Orange UK, will head up the new company. We don’t currently know if the new name will be Orange, T-Mobile, T-Orange or whether they’ll continue to operate under two different names.
Update – The Official Press Release on this is now available. Both networks will be investing heavily into the joint venture – mainly to pay for decommissioning of transmitters where sites are “doubled up”. As for re-branding, the press release states that “T-Mobile UK and Orange UK brands will be maintained separately for 18 months after completion of the transaction. During that period management will review branding alternatives for the joint venture and will develop a new branding strategy recommendation for shareholder approval.” So, you won’t see a change to the name of your network ..just yet.
Link – guardian.co.uk