Orange and T-Mobile to merge

For some time, there've been rumours that one of the major UK phone networks was looking to buy T-Mobile. At one point or other, O2 and Vodafone have been rumoured, but Orange has been the most recent source of gossip on the matter.

Today, Orange and T-Mobile confirmed through Bloomberg that they'll be merging. The result, which we're hoping will be called T-Range or O-bile, will be the UK's largest network, with 28.4 million customers - 37% of the UK's mobile phone market.

The deal is due to be signed by November, and the companies say it'll "bring substantial benefits to UK customers", including better coverage, network quality, and customer services. The first 18 months of the business will see the brands running separately still, so don't go getting an O-bile tattoo just yet.

Orange chief executive Tom Alexander will lead the new company, with T-Mobile's UK boss Richard Moat as chief operating officer. The integration of business will cost £600m to £800m, but should be saving both companies £445m a year by 2014, the sides claim.

Is a merger of the two smallest networks of the UK's big four a good thing for consumers? Or will it reduce the pressure on the other operators to be bold with their prices? We'd love to hear your thoughts, whether or not you're and Orange or T-Mo subscriber. The comments box is below.


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