3 UK pushes for lower mobile prices


3 UK pushes for lower mobile prices

Warwick Ashford

The UK's smallest mobile operator, 3, has called for regulatory reforms that will enable its business to grow in the face of consolidation of the UK mobile telecoms market.

Last week France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom announced plans to merge their UK mobile businesses Orange and T-Mobile to form a new market leader.

This will reduce the number of UK mobile operators to four, but the new merged company, Vodafone and O2 will all be much larger than 3.

Kevin Russell, chief executive of 3 UK, said he supports the merger, but called for reforms that will enable 3 to grow its business by cutting prices to end users, according to the Financial Times.

If the competition authorities approve the proposed merger between Orange UK and T-Mobile UK, they should allow 3 to attract customers by offering lower prices, he said.

Russell said the competition authorities should consider cutting to nearly zero the charges for mobile operators to connect to each others' networks.

They should also ensure that, within 18 months, consumers can shift their mobile phone number to another operator within two hours instead of two days.

Earlier this year, 3 launched a mobile package offering 15 Gbytes of data for £15 a month in a bid to create a competitive advantage in the mobile broadband market.

Also in March, 3 gave away mobile broadband dongles for a limited time period in an attempt to win more mobile broadband customers.

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