BT might’ve snubbed O2 (formerly BT Cellnet, ironically) in favour of EE (which is of course comprised of Orange and T-Mobile), but someone else is very much interested in Big Blue.
Enter: Three-owner Hutchison Whampoa. Hong Kong rich man Li Ka-shing (who was always going to be rich with a name like that) is reportedly looking to snap up O2 for a cool £9 billion, taking us from Big Four to Big Three - in more ways than one.
Adding to the incestuousness of it all, Three of course acquired O2 in Ireland last year. As such, scooping up O2 UK and its 23 million customers is arguably the next logical step.
If the merger goes ahead, Three would go from the UK’s smallest mobile network to the country’s largest, with 34% share putting it just ahead of EE.
O2-owner Telefonica is currently suffering on account of the ailing Spanish economy; it’s thought that the telecoms giant might be quite happy with Three’s offer.
However, it’s not clear how Ofcom might react to the merger, as the UK would find itself with just three networks to choose from (not including MVNOs like Tesco Mobile and giffgaff).
When Mobot started out, we had the Big Five, namely Orange, T-Mobile, Three, O2 and Vodafone.
via: The Guardian