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T-Orange puts names on dotted lines

Very nearly on schedule, too

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T-Mobile and Orange have signed their merger agreement, paving the way for the new operator to come into existence next year.

After spending a mere two months in due diligence T-Mobile and Orange have put their names to the merger contract that will see the operators combine operations into a new entity to be jointly owned by Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom, regulatory approval permitting.

When the companies announced the deal, at the beginning of September, they said that due-diligence would be completed, and thus the contract signed, by the end of October. That was later changed to the middle of November during calls about the merger, but it seems the companies have done a remarkable job of keeping nearly to schedule.

Once merged, the resulting company will have 37 per cent of the UK market, assuming customers hang around to see how the combined operator works out, and assuming that the regulator doesn't scotch the deal.

Any merger of this scale needs investigation, but the UK is a very competitive market and it's unlikely that any serious objections will be posed, which should put Orangobile* into operation by the middle of next year. ®

* Our preferred name for the new operation, though not yet accepted by either party.

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