Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom have confirmed that they’re working together to combine T-Mobile UK and Orange UK in a new 50:50 joint venture company. The new business would have around 37% of all UK mobile subscribers, which would certainly attract the attention of regulators in the UK and abroad.
The T-Mobile UK and Orange UK brands would continue separately for 18 months after the joint venture was created, with a new single brand planned for 2011. Subject to approval by competition authorities, the deal will be completed by the end of next month.
T-Mobile currently has around 12 million UK mobile customers (plus about 4 million on the Virgin Mobile MVNO), while Orange has 15.9 million mobile customers. The proposed joint venture is likely to affect the Virgin MVNO, 3's network sharing deal with T-Mobile and the government's Digital Britain plans. Significant job cuts are also expected as the two retail and network operations are combined. [Press release]