The Great Debate UK
-Ceri Stanaway is the telecoms expert at consumer champion Which? The opinions expressed are her own.-
In a move that’s likely to shake up the UK’s mobile market, Orange UK and T-Mobile UK have announced plans to merge their two mobile companies to, in their words, “create a new mobile champion”.
The new joint venture will create the UK’s biggest mobile operator, outstripping the UK’s two current market leaders O2 and Vodafone, with a combined mobile customer base for Orange and T-Mobile of around 28.4 million mobile customers. This represents around 37 percent of UK mobile subscribers, based on December 2008 figures.
In the short-term, customers are unlikely to see any big changes. The companies expect to sign off the merger at the end of October, but they plan to maintain the T-Mobile UK and Orange UK brands separately for 18 months following completion of the transaction and use that time to decide the best branding options for the new venture.