Three eyes up O2 as talk of mega mergers hots up

Mega mergers on the horizon for UK's mobile networks
When two become one

We may see our choice of mobile networks reduced in the near future, as Three predicts a trio of strong players will dominate the market after some mega mergers - with it being the possible subject of a takeover or even acquiring one of the larger players itself.

Three's CEO David Dyson spoke to the Guardian and revealed that the UK would be just fine with fewer mobile operators.

"Under the right circumstances the UK could operate competitively with three or with five [networks]," he said and added that carrier consolidation could start as soon as 2014.

The data-friendly network is already looking into buying O2 in Ireland and it's now being linked with a potential take over of the UK business too.

All eyes on Germany

Currently O2 is looking to merge with another network, E-Plus, in Germany, which would take the country's carriers tally down from four to three.

Dyson is remaining coy on the topic of a potential merger: "Let's see what happens in Germany first. We are three years into a five-year plan to double our customer base from five million to 10 million.

"If we can deliver on that plan maybe that makes us more interesting as a target or puts us in a position where we can do something as an acquirer."

Three is owned by Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa which has several networks around the world on its books.

It's this portfolio which brought around the firm's "feel at home" offer, abolishing roaming charges in certain countries, and it has been recently extended to cover four more territories, so even though Three is the smallest of four in the UK, it's got a strong backing.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.