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[Announcement] Combination of Three UK and Vodafone UK

YulianK
SMARTY Community Manager SMARTY Community Manager
SMARTY Community Manager

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Today our parent company, CK Hutchison, and Vodafone Group announced an agreement to combine Three UK and Vodafone UK. We believe that the resulting transaction will be great for customers, great for the country and great for competition.

The agreement is still subject to the approval of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and please be reassured that there is no change to customer contracts.

The transaction involves both companies combining our UK businesses, with CK Hutchison owning 49% and our partner Vodafone 51% of the combined business.  However, the Board will be made up 50/50 of representatives from both companies so decisions on the newly formed company will be made with equal weighting at Board level.

33 REPLIES 33

MSF
SMARTY Champ
SMARTY Champ

@YulianK  Thanks for the information!

So, will the name change to Smodafone, or Smavoxi, or Threedafone?....oh, the possibilities are endless !!(hopefully so will be the benefits to customers!!!).  🤔

YulianK
SMARTY Community Manager SMARTY Community Manager
SMARTY Community Manager

Not aware of any name changes (Threedafone 🤣) but the network will be significantly better.

JJP2
SMARTY Pro-coach
SMARTY Pro-coach

I vote for "Smoxi" 😂

Brookhouse
SMARTY Commentator
SMARTY Commentator

The combination of Three and Vodafone coverage, and 5G should be good. However, the merger could take 18 months, and may of course collapse.

@Brookhouse ...and at the end of it, Vod will actually own the majority share.

Will they try to merge Voxi & Smarty as they appear to be similar offerings (since Voxi decided that it was not OK to restrict their business to the under 30's)

Reserve my judgement on whether or not that's a good thing.

Brookhouse
SMARTY Commentator
SMARTY Commentator

18 months away and might not happen. Packages changing all the time so I'll worry about it when we get there. 😉

@Brookhouse  Yep, you're right. At the end of the day, it rarely matters one iota what the lowly punters think when big business starts to rub its giant palms together at the sniff of a profit.

Indeed, why worry about something in the future, which might never happen anyway should the CMA intervene.

I suspect there'll still be space on the mobile networks for MVNO companies to offer value-for-money contracts / plans. 

MergeCo - will it be #LessSMARTY, #MoreMalarkey, or #MoreSMARTY, #LessMalarkey?

WelshPaul
SMARTY Motivator
SMARTY Motivator

This won't be good news for us customers in the long term... Hopefully this won't be allowed to happen. 🤞

I will miss my cheap affordable 3G with two fingers up at the big boys. I loathed being with Virgin despite their faster speeds.

@CharlesF_841899 @WelshPaul  At least you'll be able to pay the bills in crypto-currency !! 🤣

I haven't got any.

@CharlesF_841899  - Joke - as per current Smarty TV ad?

Haven't seen it mate. I don't watch much terrestrial TV.

Oh yeah now I know what you mean.

I agree, 4 Networks down to 3. Less choice for consumers.

leedorney
SMARTY Teamster
SMARTY Teamster

So whats the chances of Smarty still going on? As the deal I'm on now 10 quid 60gb is brilliant 👌..I'd be miffed if it was to end..

@leedorney  @JohnKei_1431823  Having had a quick look at the competition e.g. GiffGaff, Lebara etc, it does seem that Smarty are much cheaper currently. That surely means that prices will only go one way regardless of mergers.

leedorney
SMARTY Teamster
SMARTY Teamster

Oh yes them, the rediculous unnecessary price rises... 🙄

@leedorney Somehow, I don't think that the bean-counters (accountants) and shareholders consider them unnecessary.....ker-ching!!

leedorney
SMARTY Teamster
SMARTY Teamster

We'll see..

JohnKei_1431823
SMARTY Maverick
SMARTY Maverick

Have to say I was gutted when I seen this on the news. Vodafone are so expensive and I fear they will end all the cheap deals. Just look at Voxi £30 for unlimited data. smarty are £20 and if you use groups you get it for £18. Vodafone won’t like that at all ☹️

ca
SMARTY Pioneer
SMARTY Pioneer

Unless radio spectrum is made available for a new 4th network to enter the market, I hope CMA blocks this merger.

This deal will create another EE... and with EE quality also comes EE prices. The problem is that we already have one EE, but after the merger we wouldn't have a replacement for Three. O2, without a cheap competitor and already struggling with so many users, certainly won't drop their prices.

This also affects virtual networks as they depend on the prices charged by the main networks, so I expect their plans to be more like EE MVNO's (1pmobile, plusnet) than like Three MVNOs (Smarty, id mobile, etc). We'll all get less or pay more for the same service.

The equal number of members of the board doesn't mean much. At the end of the day, Vodafone owns 51% of the company and will want to do things their way... a way that put them in their current situation not only in the UK, but also everywhere else in Europe. If only CKH/Three was in charge...

Oh, and redundant positions will be eliminated, so eventually some people will lose their jobs.

JJP2
SMARTY Pro-coach
SMARTY Pro-coach

Obviously, I cant say for certain, and this network isnt responding to questions on the subject, but anyway :

There is an American MVNO called "US Mobile", a few months ago, they became the main sponsor of Barnsley Football Club, the League One EFL club, with a massive logo front and centre on the player's shirts.

Unless they do actually plan to launch here in the UK, I cant see why a New York headquarted American MVNO would sponsor a Yorkshire based English football club, even more so when sponsorship opportunites in the various sports leagues in the USA would be more numerous.

leedorney
SMARTY Teamster
SMARTY Teamster

I can, it's called 'an additional market', American companies have already started building hotels in Scotland, I kid you not is simply about a making more money, around the world, why does Trump have a golf course in a quiet area of the place, because it's about getting your name out there, and making more money...simply!

PaulLig_1583778
SMARTY Pioneer
SMARTY Pioneer

Two years ago getting unlimited data on a mobile was extortianate now its 20 quid, in 18 months I cant see anyone charging more than 15 quid and soon its gonna be like minutes and texts, after all once the infrastucture is there its just bits so its gonna be basically free, joining with vodafone just gets us better connectivity for free so I am all for this

The main company driving those prices down is Three.

There will be no Three after this merger.

vista
SMARTY Maverick
SMARTY Maverick

I really hope this doesn't happen. As I believe vodafone will either close down Smarty, or at least get rid of the free calls/texts part of it, and also get rid of the unlimited data plan. I might be wrong, but I can't see vodafone keeping something going that ends up costing them money.

MSF
SMARTY Champ
SMARTY Champ

@vista  They already run a similar outfit called Voxi, but they are not as cheap as Smarty. When they started Voxi, they tried to limit it to the under 30’s. I think a number of people, including me, questioned the legality of that and it was dropped. Impossible to say what may happen. The Competition and Markets Authority will doubtless take an interest in this.

@vista As @MSF  says, Vodafone already run a similar service to Smarty called Voxi, although you don't tend to get quite as much for your money with Voxi as you do with Smarty.. the main downside for me is that Voxi scrapped their inclusive EU roaming.

You could well be right that if the Vodafone/Three merger does get the go-ahead, one of these two budget brands might go. But I think that could be years off.

I very much doubt unlimited calls and texts would go.. I think people (particularly younger people) are much more likely to be using over-the-top services like WhatsApp, iMessage and Facetime (i.e. data) than traditional phone calls and SMS, hence the networks can offer these unlimited, safe in the knowledge that many customers will barely use them.

jassingh
SMARTY Spark
SMARTY Spark

One could hope that this merger brings the best technology from both networks together and strengthen their 4G and 5G capabilities - remains to see what that means for the customer and their prices to be honest. Maybe this can allow Three to differentiate in future against competition and innovation from other networks as the comms space is always evolving.

leedorney
SMARTY Teamster
SMARTY Teamster

When I 1st got a mobile I started on VF & stayed a long time but then I went on Giffgaff, great deal cept the signal strength was sporadic though it reaches a good few areas Smarty can't do, this merger will get 3 that extra coverage. I did try voxi for a bit but didn't last, anything VF imo is rubbish end of. The only thing I'm excited about is the coverage/signal strength-speed other than that, other than that, couldn't really care...cept for what's gonna happen with the £’s..

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