While the existing heads of Orange UK and T-Mobile UK would not comment on any likely job cuts following the merger of the two firms, insiders claim that up to 2,000 jobs could be cut with back-office staff bearing the brunt.
However, Tom Alexander, who runs Orange and will become CEO of the enlarged company, confirmed that T-Orange (or whatever it will be called) would start to trade as a single entity early next month, at which point the two management teams would formulate a cost-savings strategy.
Between them the two operators have about 19,000 staff. Orange, with head offices in the city of Bristol has 12,500 personnel while T-Mobile, headquartered to the north of London, has 6,500 employees.
Informa analyst, Dario Talmesio, said the cuts would run deep. "With the number of duplications in terms of functions, I would expect an end result in the order of 15 per cent of the current combined employees."
Despite expectations that some shops may close in areas where both networks have outlets, Alexander floated the possibility of creating larger stores encompassing the two brands. "Where there are T-Mobile and Orange shops next to each other, it may make more sense to have one bigger store," he said.
Separately, Orange announced an agreement to deliver Orange multimedia services across a number of devices based on the Intel Atom Processor and MeeGo software platform. Intel and Orange said they would work to increase the availability of Orange Signature Services, such as Orange TV and Orange Maps, which will be supported by the MeeGo environment. (MeeGo is a result of a merger of the Linux-based Moblin and Maemo software projects)
"Seventy-five percent of our customer base has yet to embrace the mobile internet," said Yves Maitre, SVP devices for Orange. "With the increasing number of phones and operating systems for customers to choose from, it is our role to make sure our customers' journey into this richer mobile multimedia environment is simple and easy."
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