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28 January 20156 Comments by Jon M

O2 acquired by Three Mobile

three o2 merger

Hutchinson Whampoa has been in talks to buy O2 for the last few weeks. It has been said by industry experts that the asking price is going to be about £9 billion. Some insiders have expressed surprise at the fact the smallest network in the UK is going to buy O2 who were whether pioneers of mobile telephony since its inception.

However, Telefonica – the owners of O2, are laden with outrageous amounts of debt and recently have been struggling as they are increasingly-desperate to raise some liquid funds. O2 currently has about twenty three million customers and the deal, if and when it’s completed, would be the largest consolidation merger in europe.

It has being an open secret in the industry that Telefonica have been trying to sell the UK branch of O2. The deal makes even more sense as it would give Three a much needed 2G capacity and also combine both networks’ 800 2 has traditionally struggled with having the capable and widespread 3G and 4G network and by combining his resources with Three hopefully will be up to provide this in the future.

Recently, there’s also been another massive acquisition in the mobile network market in the UK. The country’s biggest mobile operator, EE, is going to be purchased by BT in a £12.5 billion deal. This additional pressure on their rivals has probably led to this merger as it will be beneficial and allow better competition with the new mega network that would be formed. Indeed, analysts find it completely unsurprising in light of the new BT/EE partnership which would hold a combined share of over a third of the consumer mobile market.

There are risks that consolidating the amount of options available to the general public will result in decreased competition and as a result prices could rise. Additionally, Hutchison Whampoa owner Li Ka-Shing has a personal wealth of over £25 billion as well as a humongous property empire – it remains to be seen how committed he is to providing a quality service rather than simply making a return on his investments. It’s easy to argue that fewer players in the telecoms market is unlikely to be a positive development for consumers.

However, the poor quality and speed of O2‘s data network has been a bane for users for several years now. In comparison, Three has one of the best mobile data services available and also is much more generous with its bandwidth allowances.

Currently, Three only has a few very small virtual networks hosted such as Shebang and VWF. In comparison, O2 provides infrastructure for large offering such as Giffgaff, Tesco, Lyca and GT Mobile so the increase in MVNOs under the Three umbrella could be a positive development for their users. Having said that, it remains to be seen whether Three will have the same opinions about these virtual networks especially seeing as Giffgaff alone has trading losses of about £70 million since its inception (although it has become more profitable in recent trading years).

The deal has only been confirmed recently (subject to standard due diligence processes), but it has been announced that the total payment will be over £10 billion including initial an initial injection of more than £9 billion in liquid cash. Once finalised, the merger will create the UK’s biggest mobile network with almost 50% share of the market. At the moment, it doesn’t seem like there’s any resistance from the regulator, so it’s very likely that it will eventually go through.

So O2 have finally been bought out after finding a serious buyer. What’s your thoughts on the merger? Are you a customer of Three or O2? What is in the future is for existing customers of both networks and do you think you’ll be a positive or negative outcome? Please let us know your thoughts and the comments below 🙂

6 Responses to “O2 acquired by Three Mobile”

  1. Tim Smith 30 June 2015 at 10:56 Permalink

    I was with 3 years ago but poor signal caused me to move to ee that was worse. Then recently O2 where customer was good but 2 years of missed calls and texts 3 or 4 hours after the missed call sat with the person who sent them. (on the same network) we moved to 3 a few weeks ago but the poor reception we had on O2 is identical so we are no better off but for roaming at home in France.
    I hope the technical merger will improve this???

  2. john 7 May 2015 at 00:38 Permalink

    Have been with o2 for 29 years. I also have orange tmobile three and vodafone spare phones. Without doubt tmobile is hopeless and bt should notbe buying them. O2 is by far the best network but three are the cheapest forpayg.

  3. Harry Schneider 29 January 2015 at 12:45 Permalink

    Speaking to a few friends and family today, they agree with your comments. I have three immediate family members on Three and a former work colleague also on Three. They are all happy with Three and have no obvious complaints. It would seem therefore that Three have improved their customer service aspect since I last dealt with them which, to be fair, was now over two years ago.
    Readin up within the industry blogs and news reports I do also see that there are issues with O2’s data speeds etc.

    The interesting thing about this likely purchase/merger is that it has already happened in Ireland where Three Ireland bought O2 Ireland so buy reading blogs, news reports etc from Ireland we can see how it will play out. Currently at the moment both Irish networks’ websites are still operating but both are making it clear on the home page that the Three brand will replace the O2 brand in the coming weeks and months.

    Best regards,


  4. Harry Schneider 28 January 2015 at 13:02 Permalink


    I agree with the comments you make about thus merger, from a business point of view but ironically I have just posted a review on the Vectone review page where I state that in 22 years as a mobile phone network customer, Three are the very worst network and O2 are the best, overall. So, from my 22 years of experience the best network is being bought by the worst network. This either means that Three will shake itself up and move into an attitude towards its customers which befits what will be the largest UK network. Or it means that over time the existing O2 customers will get the same appalling attitude/customer service levels that Three have offered in the last seven or so years. I hope it is the former option, and that Three take the spotlight and become as good again as they once were many years ago. Maybe they could invite the deliciously gorgeous Anna Friel back to reprise her famous ‘frog in a lake’ advert from 2003.



    • Mobile Network Comparison 29 January 2015 at 00:29 Permalink

      We appreciate your reasons but overwhelmingly, our readers complain about signal and data speed issues from O2 whereas Three – while they have deteriorated a little recently – rarely invite complaints in comparison.

      • Ronnie 30 March 2015 at 22:40 Permalink

        Been on 3 for going on a year now.
        No hassles,no signal problems and certainly no issues with Customer Service.
        Same cannot be said for O2 though,who I was with for 2 years.
        Example.Left my phone in my house hidden,and with no one else having a key.
        Came back to a bill of £103 for a £25 a month tariff,after being in Tunisia.
        When I said I did not use the phone for 15 days,they said I did.
        When I explained that I was on holiday,they told me that i di not have very trusting family and friends then.
        Absolute insult.
        Turns out they had billed me for someone else.
        Absolute farce.
        They apologised and offered to slash the it by half !!!
        Another insult.
        Eventually they agreed to normal billing.
        I did not hang around long after that.

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