Vodafone and Three Merging Networks to Form UK's Largest Mobile Operator

British mobile phone operators Vodafone and Three UK have agreed a deal to merge their UK-based operations, which if approved by regulators will make it the biggest mobile network in the country.

Three and Vodafone Logo Article
Currently the biggest players in the UK mobile market are Virgin Media O2, with around 24 million customers, and EE, which has 20 million users.

Vodafone and Three UK are the third and fourth largest mobile firms, but the merger will give them around 27 million customers, taking their combined market share past Virgin Media O2's.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will now examine the merger, specifically to look at whether it will push up customer prices.

Vodafone and Three claimed the deal will be "great for customers, great for the country, great for competition," but the CMA may not see it that way.

The same competition watchdog in May blocked UK approval for Microsoft's proposed $69 billion takeover of Activision Blizzard.

Speaking to the BBC News, Karen Egan, head of mobile at research firm Enders Analysis, said similar deals in other countries had not led to price hikes, but added that "CMA's hawkish approach to mergers of late is not encouraging."

The Unite union, which represents Vodafone and Three workers, disagreed, saying that the deal was "reckless" and would "hike people's bills and mean job losses."

Vodafone has already set out plans to cut 11,000 jobs, with CEO and CFO Margherita Della Valle admitting in May that its "performance has not been good enough." Both companies have since indicated additional job cuts within five years if the merger is approved.

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Top Rated Comments

seat_hydrant Avatar
15 months ago
They looked at Canadian telecom profits and thought—how about us too!
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
laptech Avatar
15 months ago
The only things the merger would do is make thousands of employees redundant whilst making directors richer.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
phenste Avatar
15 months ago
please, someone, explain to me how megamergers like this (Warner Bros. Discovery, Microsoft/Activision Blizzard…I can see an argument for Sprint/T-Mobile because they both had sucky reception before the merger, but AT&T/Verizon still hold quite the mobile telecom duopoly) are good (edit: "great!") for competition
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Saturnine Avatar
15 months ago
I don’t see this as a good thing. Less competition is rarely good for the customer, and the cost savings brought about are not passed on.

One of main concerns is how it might affect the MVNOs such as Voxi and Smarty. As they offer some of the cheapest deals in the market, I assume any consolidation of brands will also negatively impact customers.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ilikewhey Avatar
15 months ago

please, someone, explain to me how megamergers like this (Warner Bros. Discovery, Microsoft/Activision Blizzard…I can see an argument for Sprint/T-Mobile because they both had sucky reception before the merger, but AT&T/Verizon still hold quite the mobile telecom duopoly) are good (edit: "great!") for competition
its not good for the little guy, more competition means better price for consumer.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sw1tcher Avatar
15 months ago

I swapped my 5G broadband from Vodafone to EE and got 600Meg down for about a day. Then something went wrong with their local cell tower and I've been regretting it ever since!
Maybe the 5G tower was taken down by people thinking it would stop the spread of Covid ?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)