UPDATE: Three have recently confirmed they are in talks for the purchase of O2 from Telefonica for an estimated £10BN. More information likely to follow after the talks
The last time a major duo of UK Carriers partnered together was of course when Orange and T-Mobile UK became EE (Everything Everywhere), and, whilst not entirely a smooth transition, some could argue the transition is still not done, the end result is the UKs largest and fastest 4G network!
But, it would seem EE won’t be alone at being a UK Carrier born of a dual pairing, if a reported deal between Three UK and Telefonica’s O2-UK.
Hong Kong based network, Three is the UK’s smallest Carrier with 8 million Customers (as of 2014), but has a much larger footprint elsewhere. Whereas O2 is the UK’s second largest Carrier with 23 million, be it by quite the margin away from EE.
Whilst many may be looking at this deal and thinking nah, that won’t happen right, well put it this way, it already has in Ireland! Three purchase O2 Ireland and now it operates under Three.
WHERE’S THEIR MOTIVE?
Simple. It all falls back to EE, but not necessarily EE itself. Three and O2 aren’t the only network partnerships in rumour, BT (British Telecom) had been rumoured to be purchasing O2, the same network it abandoned as BT Cellnet in the 90s, but they’ve changed their mind and are now bidding at the big dog, EE! So, with BT, already a monopoly in the Landline business, be it declining, becoming a Cellular monopoly as well, Three and O2 merging almost seems a no-brainer!
The big question of course out of all of this is, what about the rest? Or to be more precise, what about Vodafone? That’s to be seen, the already quote as over £9BN bid is no where near acceptance just yet, as isn’t the BT one to EE, but it’s sure going to be interesting times in those markets.