Martin Lewis: Customers are bound to take a hit

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In the short term, T-Mobile and Orange customers will probably find that this deal makes little difference to the service they receive, though it is possible we might see High Street outlets begin to close in the areas where there is the greatest overlap. We may also begin to see the two businesses compete less aggressively on price as they come together.

Longer term, I see this move as damaging to competition. There are five networks coming down to four, but really four coming down to three, given the size of the three. That begins to look like an oligopoly and that can only mean higher prices for consumers unless there is some sort of regulatory intervention.

Ultimately, if T-Mobile and Orange didn't think this deal would boost their margins, they wouldn't be doing it. Some of the improvement will come from cost savings, but customers are bound to take a hit as well as staff.

Martin Lewis is the creator of MoneySavingExpert.com

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