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MNOs agree to form UK mobile giant

Vodafone and Three have agreed on a merger, which will see the two companies forming a new group to be known as MergeCo.

Vodafone Group and owner of Three UK, CH Hutchison Group Telecom Holdings (CKHGT), announced the agreement last week. According to a statement, Vodafone will own 51 per cent of the combined business, with CKHGT owning 49 per cent. The deal is expected to close before the end of next year, subject to “regulatory and shareholder approvals.”

Current Vodafone UK CEO Ahmed Essam will become MergeCo CEO, with current Three UK CFO Darren Purkis fulfilling the role of MergeCo CFO.

Discussing the merger, a spokesperson said: “From day one, millions of customers of Vodafone UK and Three UK will enjoy a better network experience with greater coverage and reliability at no extra cost.

“MergeCo will reach more than 99 per cent of the UK population with our 5G standalone network, delivering to customers up to a six-fold increase in average data speeds by 2034.”

The spokesperson continued: “The merger will create a third operator with scale, levelling the competitive playing field [and] increasing competition to the UK’s two leading converged operators. It will also provide more choice in wholesale partners for the UK’s already competitive mobile virtual network operators [MVNOs].”

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