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BT’s Likely Acquisition of EE is the End of Orange and T-Mobile UK

Saturday, January 24th, 2015 (8:08 am) - Score 4,274

Reports suggest that EE will move to completely phase out their Orange and T-Mobile brands in the United Kingdom ahead of BT’s acquisition, which is partly because the national incumbent has no plans to retain them. On top of that EE will stop selling separate 3G contracts and instead focus on 4G.

The move, which won’t impact existing customers who will of course continue to be supported on their current plans, is hardly surprising because both the Orange UK and T-Mobile websites have long since redirected new customers to EE’s products and so the removal of their remaining brands elsewhere is really just par for the course.

EE Statement (FT)

The UK has a huge appetite for faster mobile internet. Responding to this demand, we will in the coming weeks focus exclusively on offering new and upgrading customers our great value range of 4G plans. EE will continue to serve customers on Orange and T-Mobile plans.”

Separately it was reported earlier this week that BT’s on-going due diligence process, which forms part of their exclusive acquisition talks, have so far uncovered no nasty surprises in EE’s books. This bodes well for a move towards a final complete agreement and after that it becomes a more uncertain matter of seeking regulatory approval.

In considering the issue the regulator will now also need to be mindful of Three UK’s move to gobble O2 from Telefonica, not to mention Vodafone’s planned return to the consumer fixed line broadband market. The Competition and Markets Authority and Ofcom clearly have a lot of tricky work ahead.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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22 Responses
  1. dragoneast says:

    That’s the trouble with trying to fix the market. You never stop. And can never be sure what you’re trying to fix.

  2. Jonus says:

    The level of competition in the mobile space will seriously be reduced with this proposed deal. The customer services satisfaction level has dropped significantly since T-mobile and Orange merged, I only suspect it will slip even further with BT taking over.

    1. FibreFred says:

      Did plusnet customer service get worse when Bt bought it? I guess it depends what they will do with them if it goes through , leave alone (like plusnet) or rebrand and reorganise

    2. dragoneast says:

      The trouble with measuring customer service, is that judgement always depends on our own experience, and is so subjective. I’ve been with Orange (for mobile telecomms and home broadband) and am now with EE. I know their reputation and from my dealings with them I can see how they get that reputation. But you know what? They’ve always dealt with my issues (usually complex, I work things out for myself when I can) promptly and properly, notwithstanding. It doesn’t stop everyone trying to measure and compare this and that. Does it help? I’m not convinced. It costs us all, though. The simple my experience is . . . as Amazon does, is far more useful to me than the stars or ranking which is like self-praise, no recommendation.

    3. MikeW says:

      I’m not sure why BT ownership will seriously reduce the amount of competition in the mobile space. BT don’t exactly have much of a position in the mobile space at the moment, and certainly not as a complete network operator.

      Three and O2 merging *would* reduce the competition.

    4. No Clue says:

      Agreed Jonus

    5. Rusty says:

      Agreed Jonus. I think this is only detrimental to the consumer. Reduce competition and you reduce competitive behaviour which reduces competitive deals for the EU.

  3. Jonus says:

    I agree Dragoneast. I have been an Orange customer for 15yrs or so and regular spend is +£300 pm. When it was Orange I had loads of premiere customer perks, now its EE, the charge me for everything and I get no loyalty support/ concessions what so ever. For the first time in 15yrs I am considering porting my number to VFG.

  4. DanielM says:

    i would certainly leave if it became a BT company.

    1. FibreFred says:

      Just on principal? The hate is strong in this one 🙂

    2. DanielM says:

      i hate BT..

    3. FibreFred says:

      🙂 I know

  5. MikeW says:

    I can see why BT wouldn’t want to continue using the branding for Orange or T-Mobile; they are major brands for the French and German incumbent companies, and wouldn’t exactly sit well with the British incumbent.

  6. Kits says:

    Why not since this deal lets those countries now have a stake in BT, the first step in the take over any foreign country can succeed in taking over BT once they get their legs under the table so to speak. This deal gives them that chance.

    1. Ignitionnet says:


      They could’ve just purchased BT shares.

      Seen the BT shareholders?


      Largest one is incorporated in Bermuda and based in the USA.

  7. No Clue says:

    Now all they got to do is pay Virgin off, unless BT are going to allow Virgin to use their mobile network at the same price they currently pay EE LOL

    1. FibreFred says:

      I would expect existing contracts to stay as is when a company is bought out until they expire

    2. No Clue says:

      I think you will find Virgins current contract with EE ends in 2020 im sure i remember reading that somewhere. After that who knows what will happen, for contract users i guess BT would just try to assimilate them PAYG users who knows?

  8. dragoneast says:

    Things change. I joined Orange in 1997 when they were still the something of the new-kid-on-the-block. Though having been around since the early 90s as, I think Rabbit originally. They were grateful for any customers, and were awash with incentives. Since 2000 they’ve steadily been whittled down; and the shotgun marriage with T-mobile led, I suspect to a real culture clash as the two managements fought it out. The result was EE, which not surprisingly has sought its own identity. And to me it seems to be chasing the high spending “quality” customers, not the value market. BT too want a clean slate so they can establish their own proposition, whatever that turns out to be. I’m not sure they or we know yet. I just suspect that churn has been seen as the bugbear of the mobile market, and almost everything Orange have EE have done, and are doing, has been an attempt to reduce those losses. Which is not the same as keeping every part of their customer base, but rather increasingly being selective. Interestingly, it seems to me almost as if EE and Vodafone have gone in opposite directions, with EE trying to drag themselves upmarket, as Voda try to increase their “value” proposition to the mass market. EE just looked to me as a work-in-progress, a sort of holding operation until something came along. Now we know. BT, presumably.

    I might be entirely wrong, of course!

  9. 3G Infinity says:

    Will France Telecom re-introduce the Orange brand as an MVNO, most probably not.

    1. Onephat says:

      I’m assuming BT would buy the rights to those names in the UK?

  10. hmmm says:

    well these will probably be like rubbish BT & plusnet cowboys it will be a shambles like there so called vdsl and there superslow Britain rubbish and there excellent estimates what they say change every other week with openreach cowboys

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