Who Named The Orange / T-Mobile Merger?

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The Lib-Servatives don’t yet have a name for their coalition, says Tom Jowitt. Let’s hope they do better than Orange and T-Mobile: “Everything Everywhere”

While Britain’s politicians are building a new relationship between erstwhile enemies, the tech world has something similar going on.

Nick Clegg and David Cameron are discussing the finer points of their merger – what to call it? Lib-servative? Con-dem-nation? Meanwhile, Orange UK and T-Mobile UK have picked a frankly bizarre name: Everything Everwhere.

It’s Taken A While

Of course, the merger of the mobile operators actually took a good deal longer than any political union. In May 2009 Deutsche Telekom put its UK mobile network up for sale, but in the depths of the recession, it took until September before Orange stepped forward. It then took until November 2009 for the news to be officially confirmed.

That was followed by scrutiny from the EC and industry regulators, before European approval, after France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom offered to sell off part of their combined radio spectrum in exchange for an EC blessing.

The Implications

Despite this, ‘Everything Everywhere’ still has the bulk of the 1800 MHz spectrum in the UK, and should have a significant advantage over other mobile networks.

It’s got other advantages, including its colossal size compared to other mobile players. Even Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile operator (in terms of sales), will be drawfed in its home market, as ‘Everything Everywhere’ will control a 37 percent slice of the UK mobile space, and has a customer base of 30 million people, over half of the UK adult population.

Now, there is little doubt that the UK mobile market-place has been hopelessly overcrowded for some years now, with five separate mobile operators scrapping in a highly saturated market-place. Now there are four players, which is still a lot.

For years many believed it would be 3UK  that went away, but its parent Hutchison Whampoa Ltd stubbornly refused to back down, and T-Mobile struggled instead with slipping sales and a shrinking customer base, and Orange stepped in to make the deal, despite the interest of others.

The boss of ‘Everything Everywhere’, Tom Alexander, confirmed the pecking order in the new group, when he explained that the Orange brand had a “premium element”, while T-Mobile had a “straightforward, value-orientated appeal”.

For the customer, the main advantage is that T-Mobile and Orange users can roam across both networks, at no additional cost. For the new operator, the main advantage is that it can trim duplicate operational costs.

What’s In A Name?

Alexander confirmed that that the Orange and T-Mobile brands would continue to operate independently, as both had “personalities” that he wants to retain – which is just as well, given the strange decision to saddle the holding company, which looks after both brands, with the bizarre name  ‘Everything Everywhere’.

Alexander attempted to explain the reasoning behind the name, saying the group wanted to convey the message that its customers could “access the world – for entertainment, education, information – wherever they are, whenever they want.”

Hmmm. Personally, I would have gone for the simple option: Orange Mobile, or something similar.

Interestingly though, the website domain name EverythingEverywhere.com is already occupied by a blogger, by the name of Gary Arndt, who used it to blog on his journey around the world back in 2007. Methinks that Mr Arndt could be about to recover the cost of his entire trip (and then some) when Mr Alexander comes calling with his cheque book.

That said, the UK version, EverythingEverywhere.co.uk, is still up for grabs, so maybe Mr Arndt should hold off booking any new travel plans for the time being.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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