Orange and T-Mobile merger under threat


The planned merger between mobile phone giants, T-Mobile UK and Orange, is set to be investigated by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The OFT said the merger “threatens significantly to affect competition in mobile telecommunications in the UK”.

At the time of the proposed merger in September, the two phone giants said a deal would create the UK’s largest mobile phone company with more than 28 million customers and annual sales of €9.4 billion (£8.2 billion).

The combined company will have a 37% share of the UK mobile market - overtaking market leader, Telefonica’s O2, and will reduce the number of mobile phone operators in the country to just four.

As a result of the examination by the OFT, the proposed merger is likely to be delayed.

In a statement, the consumer watchdog said: “It intends to examine the proposed joint venture with a view to deciding whether it should be referred to the Competition Commission for an in-depth investigation.”

Finally, there are concerns that the deal, should it be given the green light, could bring job losses due to overlap within the two companies. Orange has a UK workforce of 12,500, while T-Mobile employs 6,500 in the UK.

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