Orange and T-Mobile are likely open joint-branded shops in the UK, and grow their shared retail estate of 713 outlets in the coming months.
The UK joint venture between the pair, called Everything Everywhere, will see both the Orange and T-Mobile trading brands retained. The new firm is considering opening some number of stores in areas where both brands presently under-index, affording existing customers of Orange and T-Mobile an opportunity to upgrade and buy new services, and customers of rival firms incentive to churn.
Everything Everywhere chief executive Tom Alexander said: “We have done a lot of work over the last six months to look at our expanded retail footprint and where we are strong, and also at white spaces where we traditionally under-index. And we have an opportunity to open joint-branded shops in those sites, where perhaps a single branded shop might not work as well.
“We have got more than 700 shops already, and there will be some overlap. Where two stores are next door to each other, for instance, we may choose to open a much larger site offering both brands. But if anything we will grow our store estate; not by a huge amount, but by a number that reflects the opportunity for us.”
Alexander said the Orange and T-Mobile brands have distinct “personalities,” despite considerable crossover in the consumer mass-market.
He said: “There are no plans to get rid of either brand; they’re such strong assets. They are not just ‘trading brands’, resonating no more than a brand on a toaster. These brands have built clubs of customers that are very loyal.
“They’re much more powerful brands than the AA or RAC, say. You don’t mess with that lightly. They are also useful because they have different personalities, and we have different products and propositons targeted at different parts of the market. They will be pitched differently. There is massive overlap in the middle.
“But T-Mobile is very much the brand of the people. Orange appeals differently; it offers very much more packaged value, and the handset choice might be different, as will its positioning on high street and the weight of retail stores in different regions.”