The recent news of the absorption of O2 into Three attracted quite a few headlines recently, although that was not the only big merge to occur between UK carriers. Back in 2010, two of the biggest carriers, Orange and T-Mobile merged under the newly introduced 'EE' (Everything Everywhere) brand. At first, few had heard of EE but with household names like Orange and T-Mobile, attracting customers was easy enough. In fact, this was the whole point of merging the likes of Orange and T-Mobile as it gave EE an easy method to instantly obtain a trusted (and massive) customer-base. Since 2010, EE has become much better known and it seems the difference between EE, T-Mobile or Orange (in terms of perspective) became increasingly smaller. Now, in 2015, it seems that perceptual difference is effectively non-existent
As such, it won't come as a big surprise (although a little sad for nostalgic reasons) that Orange and T-Mobile branding is finally being phased out by EE. According to EE CCO Marc Allera, there is little need anymore for them to continue to promote the brands, as over 90% of recent activations occurred directly with EE. Instead, from March 2nd, UK customers will no longer be able to buy Orange or T-Mobile contracts anymore. With only one in ten new EE contracts occurring through either of these two brands, it won't be that much of a transitional difference for anyone. According to EE, this is exactly why it is happening now. In an interview with Mobile News (source link below), Allera notes, they have for some time been looking at 'when' would be the right time and with all major activations now occurring directly through EE, it was felt now was that time.
If you currently are on an Orange or T-Mobile contract, then nothing will immediately change for you, with your plan remaining as-is. However, it does seem that once your contract expires you will no longer be able to renew under Orange or T-Mobile and will have to migrate to the parent brand, EE. In terms of pre-paid, EE will stop selling Orange and T-Mobile branded prepaid SIMs from today, with all unsold inventory being fully deactivated after one year. In terms of the future, it seems EE will try (and already are trying) to encourage existing Orange and T-Mobile customers to migrate to their EE brand fully, by way of discounted 4G plans which seemed to have been big business for the company over the last year. Are you currently an Orange or T-Mobile customer? It might not feel like much of a difference, but sad to see Orange and T-Mobile fully disappear from the UK mobile market? Let us know