Kevin Russell, chief exec of 3 UK, has started getting mouthy about the forthcoming Orange/T-Mobile merger, which was recently rubber-stamped by the European Commission. Despite getting access to a pile of new phone masts, he's still unhappy about the proposals, saying:
"The approval of the Orange/T-Mobile merger reduces the market from five to four, making it urgent for key competition and consumer issues to be addressed. These include the imbalance of radio spectrum holdings, penal mobile termination rates and a failed mobile number porting system".
"It is critical that the Digital Britain proposals are passed to begin to address the radio spectrum issues and just as critical for Ofcom to act on mobile termination rates and mobile number portability if it is serious about the UK being a competitive market with true consumer choice".
"Customer friendly number porting is the basic platform for competition in the mobile market. UK consumers are alone in Europe in being forced to ask permission of their current operator if they wish to move their phone number to a new provider. The need for action to address competition issues in the UK has never been greater".
While 3, with its new masts, does reasonably well out of the merger, we can't argue too much against the more customer-friendly of Russell's proposals. However, attention in the Digital Britain bill has stayed firmly away from the mobile arena and the spotlight is on filesharing instead, so perhaps appealing to Ofcom is more likely. Either way, Orange-T is now a reality that everyone will have to deal with.