Three boss hints at possible merger with O2 in the UK

Three boss hints at possible merger with O2 in the UKThree chief exec David Dyson has hinted that the network is open to the possibility of combining with another carrier to strengthen its position in the UK and take on larger operators such as EE.

Dyson told The Guardian that the country could easily survive with a reduced number of service providers “under the right circumstances”.

The number of UK operators decreased from five to four a couple of years ago with the merger of Orange and T-Mobile to form EE, which unsurprisingly is now the largest player on the UK mobile scene.

But with speculation that Three's parent company, Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa, could be looking to swallow up O2 in Ireland, Dyson has suggested that a similar move was possible here in the UK too.

“Under the right circumstances the UK could operate competitively with three or with five,” Dyson said this week, arguing that high-profile mergers could be the only way smaller networks could compete with the likes of EE going forward.

All eyes are currently on Germany, where O2 is looking to join forces with E-Plus, a move that would reduce the number of core networks in the country from four to three. Dyson says that the response of German regulators to the proposed merger could set the tone for similar deals to be struck elsewhere, including the UK.

“Let's see what happens in Germany first,” Dyson said. “We are three years into a five-year plan to double our customer base from five million to 10 million.

“If we can deliver on that plan maybe that makes us more interesting as a target or puts us in a position where we can do something as an acquirer.”

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Stelph  Dec. 6, 2013 at 10:04

A combination of arguably the most forward thinking mobile network (announcing customers can use their inclusive mins/data/txts on their networks overseas and freely admits they buy into their position as a "dumb pipe" for data) with one of the most backward thinking ones (continue to pay megabucks for "exclusives", have a history of their network collapsing when put under strain at festivals)

Cant end well IMO, and i Hope they dont think they have to be big to compete with Tmobile. Personally im leaving Tmobile now since they started cutting my internet allounce and appear to have clarified their "unlimited" data package im on means "not more than 3GB"

arvy1  Dec. 6, 2013 at 13:35

Well all i can say is that the only thing i think this will mean is slowly taking away unlimited data. As an EE customer speaking to a customer service rep about slowing data speeds compared to previous orange speeds. I was told that : "you do know that t-mobile and orange have merged into one company ?" My obvious reply of "yes" thinking that that explanation cannot be an obvious answer as surely there will be more masts, followed by "well this means we have more customers using our services hence slower speeds /reduced service".
Hmm so more money from customers but less masts to utilise them? Seeing as 4gee is crap , inconsistent and slow pac code as soon as possible me thinks.

Deltaone  Dec. 6, 2013 at 13:39

I left O2 for three and I would never go back. Three have been great and cheap and great all at the same time as O2 were useless and expensive and useless. My HDSPA+ on three has been at times 14meg download speed, my home broadband up until talktalk introduced fibre was at best 3.5 meg. On a mountain in the peak district I was getting 8 meg while my poor friends with o2, voda and EE were lucky to get a signal and those that could were getting less than half my speed. I concur with the comments above, heartily!


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