I've obviously been giving some thought to the implications of the T-Mobile/Orange merger in the UK. I'll be posting a selection of thoughts over the course of the next few days.
As a first off, the thorny issue of competition will have to be resolved. EU and UK authorities will probably get involved. I think that at an EU level the merger doesn't represent anything new. Across EU markets an operator with 43% market share* is hardly unusual. Most markets have such a primate operator, although usually it's the former incumbent. For more analysis of this, see the piece I wrote for Analysys Mason: Orange–T-Mobile merger brings UK competition levels into line with other European markets. At the UK level, it could be that this becomes a political hot potato. There are quite a lot of job losses implicit in the merger plans. We're in a recession. There's going to be an election in the next 9 months. That could scupper the deal, or at least delay it until after May's poll.
*The T-Mo/OR press release claims 37% vs 27% for O2, but that's a little bit naughty. You can't exclude your MVNOs for your subs figures if you choose to include O2 and Vodafone's.
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