Money, Money, Money...
Telefonica is already a listed company. How do they list the O2 UK entity without ring-fencing their equity in it? That I'd imagine would be a very costly if the O2UK IPO did not do well, which it very likely will not.
Voda stock performance depends heavily on its global presence.
And for those who say prices will rise and things will fester, could you cite some evidence from past mergers? These tales of pre-merger competitiveness with lower prices and wonderful coverage has eluded my personal experience!
EE are deploying 4G+/LTE-A. Voda and O2 still are just getting round to even doing 4G properly. They never did 3G well. These were the biggest before the merger. There is no way orange or tmob or 3 would have taken the lead over Voda/O2.
An oligopoly, with less competition would imply that EE don't need to bother with LTE-A until they're done miking 4G. Yet they have.
If you say prices have risen (for the same product), why aren't Voda and O2 bothering if the market now actually allows them to charge more?
I'm curious as I don't see any actual evidence, it's largely cynicism. Some anecdotes citing worse customer care are far easier to correct (£) than getting infrastructure investments (££££). That latter clearly needs significant scaling now given how rapidly existing cell capacity is exhausting, let alone for operators to think of new cells in not spots.
Considering how much spectrum costs, the 3G auctions are what held back the industry before IMO, none of the operators, all 4 of them, would compete on price. It rose their capex costs and cut down R&D budgets. I don't see how, without some consolidation to encourage investment and scale, the stagnation of the industry can be stopped from happening again. It's already begun. The 3G problem was one of price, today's problem is coverage and capacity. The latter is not seeing the investment it should and it hadn't even with four operators. IMO EE is only one that is offering something better on this front over the pre-merger era/participants.
Another oddity in this affair : How can the EE commissioner and Ofcom leadership take opinion driven positions. It seems strange to me too. They aren't giving clear reasons, just that they don't "like" the idea. It's like a judge assuming guilt because the defendant "looks" guilty. I honestly think it's a call to the companies involved to pamper them behind the scenes and not break the law.