EE Is Killing Off Orange And T-Mobile And Here Is The Reason Why
T-Mobile and Orange have managed to exist quite happily under the banner of EE for quite some time now. The two companies became part of the new network in early 2010 when a joint venture was announced between their respective owners Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom. They announced that there would be a new name for the freshly merged company: Everything Everywhere. Orange and T-Mobile would continue to provide their services, but they would do so under the ownership of EE. Their stores would be rebranded as EE branches and many of their services would operate via EE too.
However, as of this Easter, there has been a big change in the relationship between the three network providers that signifies the end for Orange and T-Mobile. Orange’s online store no longer allows you to purchase anything from it while their drop down links now redirect to EE’s site as well. Meanwhile, the T-Mobile site immediately sends you to the EE homepage. What we are beginning to see, it seems, is the slow death of these two networks in the United Kingdom with EE taking charge. As James Barford, a mobile expert at Enders Analysis, said in regards to this week’s news: “This is a clear signal of intent that over time the Orange and T-Mobile brands will be phased out. Online is not the biggest channel but it is a very significant channel.”
The retirement of T-Mobile and Orange should hardly come as a surprise. Not only is it far easier to run one brand instead of three, but it also makes sense considering the rise of mobile internet — an area in which EE are major player. Google recently released a study, for instance, that suggests 84% of smartphone owners rely on mobile internet for local information. Nielson also suggests that 34 hours per month is spent using a mobile phone’s internet data, taking over home PC use for the first time ever which averaged at 27 hours.
Therefore, the 3G services offered by Orange and T-Mobile are no longer enough. It’s EE’s flagship 4G service that is now in high demand. At the beginning of January they reached 2 million 4G customers. Should this continue to be the case, there will be little need for the likes of Orange and T-Mobile in a few years time. This has been clear to EE since March when customers wanting a 3G plan were told they had to go to high street stores or call the sales team, dropping Orange and T-Mobile plans from the internet entirely.
Mobile communication technology is a far more important part of EE’s future than maintaining the increasingly unnecessary Orange and T-Mobile brands too. Despite the fact they are still rolling out 4G to places like airports and railways, EE are busy preparing for the next generation of the technology – 5G. They hope to have these services live by 2020 and have the support of British Prime Minister David Cameron. He wants the UK to have internet so fast that it would only take a second to download an 800MB movie. It will hopefully prepare the country for the upcoming Internet Of Things; a concept that is soon to be a reality where all the items we use in our everyday life will connect to the internet and communicate with one another.
It’s difficult to see a role that Orange or T-Mobile will play in the future of EE, or even the future of telecommunications as a whole. What we are beginning to see may in fact be the end of both networks in the United Kingdom; the gradual and managed decline of each as their services become integrated into one powerful EE network that truly would provide ‘everything everywhere’.