Tuesday, June 20, 2023
Vodafone and Three plan to merge their UK businesses
New Hutchison/Vodafone network would be biggest UK operator
Vodafone Group plc and CK Hutchison Group Telecom Holdings Limited have agreed to combine their UK telecommunication businesses, respectively Vodafone UK and Three UK. The merger will create a third large network operator to compete with Virgin Media O2 (formed from a merger in 2021) and EE (acquired by BT in 2016).
Vodafone will own 51% of the combined business and CKHGT 49%. The companies say their combined business will invest £11bn in the UK over 10 years to create one of Europe’s most advanced standalone 5G networks, with over 99% population coverage and up to a six-fold increase in average data speeds by 2034.
Margherita Della Valle, Vodafone Group Chief Executive, said "The merger is great for customers, great for the country and great for competition. It's transformative as it will create a best-in-class – indeed best in Europe – 5G network, offering customers a superior experience. As a country, the UK will benefit from the creation of a sustainable, strongly competitive third scaled operator – with a clear £11bn network investment plan – driving growth, employment and innovation. For Vodafone, this transaction is a game changer in our home market. This is a vote of confidence in the UK and its ambitions to be a centre for future technology."
The merger of Vodafone and Three, the country's third and fourth largest mobile firms, will be examined by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).