back to article French maverick sniffs around O2

European Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is expected to block Three UK owner CK Hutchison’s takeover of O2 this week, leaving BT as the dominant player in the UK’s mobile market. BT, lest you forgot, is also the monopoly wholesaler of broadband, and the single largest retail provider of broadband too, with a 31 per cent share …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Did you hear the one about the man from Telefonica who complained about unfair competition?

    "We did an analysis of all the countries Telefonica operates in and the only one that compares for spectrum dominance is Venezuela."

    Did he really look at Telefonica's home market? BT would be a plucky newcomer disrupting the market compared with how Telefonica have got things sewn up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Did you hear the one about the man from Telefonica who complained about unfair competition?

      Haven't done the analysis but probably not in terms of spectrum ownership.

  2. Richard Jones 1

    So Explain To me

    O2 is owned by a foreign owner and is a tiny not very useful player. So having another different foreign owner will do what to build it into something worthwhile?

    O2 needs scale not another absentee landlord or absentee owner. Three minnows with one being a struggling and apparently now failing Vodafone with crap service and falling revenues, sounds like a meagre fish supper for a decently scaled but probably still useless BT-EE combo shark.

    1. Lars Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: So Explain To me

      And to me the "single" in the sentence "the single largest retail provider of broadband too, with a 31 per cent share.".

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: So Explain To me

        Re: "single"

        Agree, I'm not sure how you can have more than one "largest"...

        Interestingly, I was sceptical of the 31 per cent figure. It however comes from Ofcom (http://media.ofcom.org.uk/facts/ ) and shows typical Ofcom reality distortion.

        Whilst I can accept that Virgin Media is a fixed broadband provider, I find it difficult to accept that TalkTalk, Sky, EE and (most of the) Others are anything more than wholesale users of BT's infrastructure. Hence BT's actual market share is more like 79%...

  3. Philippe

    That french maverick could be a blessing

    When Free entered the french market, prices collapsed by 30%. I could do with the same thing happening in the UK. Their business model is closer to an MVNO than a network operator with most of the customer handling taking place online, with almost no shop and a limited choice of devices available. We'll see how it goes but I am far more confident for the future of O2 as part of Free than I was of that badly cobbled together joke of a merger with Three.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That french maverick could be a blessing

      When Free entered the french market, prices collapsed by 30%.

      So did performance. After 5pm I used to have to result to dialup to read email (I am not exaggerating), because Free throttled any non-port80 traffic, and SSL email just gave up. The same happed to 12 other people in my office, so it wasn't an isolated case. Free have a great business model, some interesting technology, but they screw their customers at every opportunity to keep their costs down. And sue any customer that dares to accuse them of shady practice.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: That french maverick could be a blessing

        "throttled any non-port80 traffic"

        Something similar happened to my old ISP when TT bought them. Does saying that amount to an accusation of shady practice?

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: That french maverick could be a blessing

      When Free entered the french market, prices collapsed by 30%

      That was some years back when the French market was a lot less mature...

      Also Illiad/Free would have significant competition in the 'cheap' end of the mature UK market given the number of 'cheap' MVNO's already operating. So expect any price discount to be temporary with the sole purpose of buying market share - which is effectively what they've been doing in France...

  4. Chad H.

    Ronan has always been very good at insisting up is down and black is white. Remember how the best thing for his customer service staff was for them to be no longer O2 Employees?

  5. MJI Silver badge

    Shouldn't O2

    be owned by BT rather than whateer EE is?

    I remember BT Cellnet

    1. paulf Silver badge

      Re: Shouldn't O2

      BT did sniff around O2 UK at first before they opted to acquire EE from DT and Orange (FT).

      I suspect this tells you more about the miserable state of O2 than it does about BT's empire/monopoly building.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Shouldn't O2

        My work phone says O2 so tempted to ask BT about it as they now do mobile again.

        Just like the post office offered me internet so I said I was with them already as I had BT Infinity!

        I love confusing companies

        1. Mellipop

          Re: Shouldn't O2

          In the age old spirit of wibble I too like to confuse the strands of the GPO.

          I have an old pass card somewhere. Beautifully bound like an old book.

          Getting back to the thread though, this looks like the M&A activity typical of a sunset industry. And looking at the way that 5G will change the way people use network spectrum the only part of a network operator worth keeping soon will be the billing department. Oh and legal to sue people.

      2. jerehada

        Re: Shouldn't O2

        It tells you they understand more about mobile spectrum and bundling services than Sharon White at OFCOM. To be fair it looks a genius move from a BT perspective.

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