September 8, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
Orange and T-Mobile are the third and fourth largest carriers in the United Kingdom, but the two divisions of parent company France Telecom and Deustche Telekom will undertake a joint venture to make their new company the largest mobile operator in the UK. They’ll jump from almost worst to first with a combined base of 30 million subscribers.
The deal is preliminary and will draw attention from British/European competition authorities, but would save each company billions of dollars. The new partnership will have each party “keep their brands” according to the Telegraph, meaning that the carriers will continue operating as two separate entities that share infrastructure and behind-the-scenes resources. That seems to put an end to the hope that Orange customers would gain access to T-Mobile products and vice versa.
Rumors as early as June suggested that Deutsche Telekom might sell its underperforming UK division, and in July it was believed that Vodafone or O2 was likely to purchase T-Mobile UK. However, Orange has stepped up to form a deal that – if finalized – would give the partners control of 37pc of the UK mobile phone market.
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