Orange and T-Mobile are to continue operating both brands in the UK after agreeing to merge, and yesterday revealed the parent company will be called "Everything Everywhere" in what the chief executive labelled "a statement of ambition".
Tom Alexander, who heads the newly merged group, unveiled the name of Britain's largest mobile communications company to directors at an event held in Wembley Stadium on Monday, before officially announcing the news yesterday on what he dubbed a "special and historic day".
He said: "Today is one of the most momentous days for the company. For everyone across the business, life is different."
France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom announced in September that their UK arms were to merge. The two parent companies each have a 50 per cent stake in the new business.
Everything Everywhere is "officially born" on 1 July, but the new branding had already begun appearing across the group's headquarters in Paddington, central London, yesterday. The company's combined 16,522 employees will be fully integrated later in the year.
Teams from Orange and T-Mobile worked on the name with Saatchi & Saatchi and Fallon, and rejected suggestions including The Brilliant Network and Bright Cloud. Mr Alexander said: "They just didn't feel modern enough."
The merger saw the combined group overtake O2 as the largest mobile phone operator in the UK. It now has 30 million mobile and broadband customers and a market share of about 37 per cent. The group's combined service revenues for last year would have been valued at £7.5bn, overtaking £5.2bn at O2 and £4.7bn at Vodafone.
Mr Alexander said the company had decided early on that they needed to maintain both brands in the UK. "There is huge momentum in both businesses, and we wanted to keep that going. They both have big clubs of customers," Mr Alexander said.
He said the two companies would inevitably compete for some market share, but they would target different customers as much as possible. He said the two brands had different regional strengths with Orange dominating in the West Country and parts of Wales and T-Mobile in London. Mr Alexander added T-Mobile was a "challenger brand with straightforward value," while Orange was more "premium".
The group is planning to bring its networks together later this year, with customers able to roam across both. This forms part of the plan to slash £3.5bn in cost savings out of the business, which also includes cutting some back office staff. The company also has a significant retail presence. It had planned to cut the combined 713 shops following the merger, but the company said it now intends to increase the size of the retail network.
Mr Alexander said in a memo to staff yesterday: "As an industry, we are on the verge of radical change, with our customers rethinking what that device in their pocket can do." He continued that phones were no longer just for making calls and sending texts. "Whether it's music, films, books, news, information, people or places, our customers now want instant access to everything, everywhere," he said.
Services the group plans to launch include high definition voice next year, and it is working on methods of contactless payments via mobile phones. The company is considering moves into ebooks and television, as Mr Alexander said: "We are interested in the entertainment space".