T-Mobile and Orange UK merger approved by EU

The European Commission has given the green light for the T-Mobile and Orange merge.

The deal will create a network giant with 29.5 million customers. T-Mobile, currently owned by Deutsche Telekom and Orange, currently owned by France Telecom - will see a firm with sales of 9.4bn euros (£8.2bn; $13.5bn). This makes the joint company the largest mobile carrier in the UK, stumping O2 with roughly 37% of the mobile market.

The merger was originally announced in September 2009 but approved by the EU today. Some analysts believe that by merging the two companies contract prices will rise in the UK. Chris Watson, of CMS McKenna believes that UK mobile phone operators "would welcome consolidation in the sector." He adds that, "adding firms saw the current levels of competition as "ruinous" because of how low they had to keep prices to win customers." He also said that existing contracts will not change for customers, however - should your contract come due for renewal the consumer may find the price a little higher.

Orange says the integration will start immediately but that both the T-Mobile and Orange UK brands will continue to operate in the UK for at least 18 months after the completion of the transaction. It's not yet known what the new company will be rebranded to.

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