Mobile network brands T-Mobile and Orange are to merge their UK operations in a deal that will push the combined company into first position in the UK market, with market share of 37% and more than 28 million customers.
The two are currently the UK’s third and fourth-largest mobile operators, and today’s 50:50 deal will mean rivals O2 and Vodafone move into to second and third place in the highly competitive UK mobile market. Vodafone and O2 were actually rumored to both be making bids at the weekend for T-Mobile, but Orange made the first move.
Orange is owned by France Telecom and T-Mobile by Deutsche Telekom. The two companies said on Tuesday 8 September that the deal will create a new force in the UK mobile phones market, which is the second-largest in Europe – annual revenues of almost €10bn (£8.8bn). Cost savings are expected to be around €4bn.
The new company will be a 50:50 joint venture and the management team will be led by Tom Alexander, who is chief executive of Orange UK. He will take the same role in the new company. Richard Moat, chief executive of T-Mobile UK, will be chief operating officer.