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Why mobile industry mergers are starting to look promising for consumers

Why mobile industry mergers are starting to look promising for consumers

When it was first revealed that BT was making a multi–billion pound move for EE, there were murmurs of disquiet about what such a tie–up would mean for consumers looking to cut costs.

The news of Three owner Hutchison Whampoa’s deal for O2 simply added to these worries, with understandable concerns about the UK’s four major networks becoming three.

bt ee

The initial complaints were well worn: that slimming down competition would mean price hikes for consumers and that service would fall to the wayside with networks having such vast shares of the consumer base.

Those are still valid and are unlikely to play out fully until both the Three and BT deals are scrutinised and given the all clear by regulators, something that's ongoing but that will not happen until the end of 2015 at the latest.

However, it does appear that the major shifts in the mobile industry are causing networks to take greater consideration of their consumers.

Vodafone especially has had to lead on this. From once being the dominant player, it is now set to become the smallest of the three main carriers.

vodafone store large

News this week that it will now offer 4G as standard and its promise not to raise line rentals mid–contract, bringing it in line with new EU law, is very welcome.

The fact is Vodafone is facing a huge challenge to stay relevant and these deals go some way to convincing consumers it’s a brand still worth paying for.

EE is likewise making interesting moves.

Its free power bar charger is a stroke of genius and its automatic Wi–Fi calling offer is bound to entice heavy users and those who have binned off their landlines for good in favour of mobile.

ee power bar table

The continued growth of MVNO’s, including BT’s new effort piggy-backing off of EE, also shows that consumers are getting an ever wider choice.

There appears to be a future where the three main networks will provide infrastructure in order for others to deliver services.

The increased competition among quad-play suppliers also suggests we could be in for better deals once the dust settles on the current mobile changes.

Of course, sweeteners and freebies are all well and good. But the thing most consumers want is cheaper bills.

contract generic

These latest moves are a good start, but unless prices are seen to stay at a fair level, they will only be remembered as the fancy extras they really are.

The hope is that EE, Three and Vodafone will ensure that those paying for their services don’t get left out of pocket.

Category: News
Tagged: industry news
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