It wasn’t so long ago now that if you were to glance at your phone, the most likely network you’d see written on the top right of your screen would be T-Mobile. The brand were everywhere, with representation on our high streets, constantly TV advertising and a strong online presence. Today, however, the brand is completely gone in the UK, though it maintains a presence elsewhere in the world.
The birth of T-Mobile
T-Mobile began life as another recognisable name from the early days of mobile telecommunication – Mercury One2One. An early GSM mobile network, Mercury One2One were operated by the long defunct Mercury Communications. Later, the company would be rebranded as One2One following the launch of Orange and the broader move to simplify and soften the hard-core techy image of mobile networks.
Amazingly, One2One was the first company in the world to launch a GSM network, a standard which would become used across vast swathes of the earth. That was back in 1993, at a time when the promise of mobile phones was huge, but they were expensive and cumbersome, nothing but an expensive luxury.
By the year 1999, One2One had grown into a company with a respectable market share in the UK, and was being scouted out for a buyout. That came from German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom, who operated it under the One2One brand for 3 years before, in 2002, rebranding the company at T-Mobile.
T-Mobile to EE
The T-Mobile branding worked a treat as the company saw its strongest ever growth, becoming one of the two biggest mobile networks in the UK. The business was expanding at a rapid rate, taking on huge customer numbers through the T Mobile customer service number.
It was also around this time that T-Mobile helped launch a little phone known at the G1. It had a slide out keyboard and was manufactured by HTC. It was also the first ever Android phone to see release. Though it didn’t set the world alight in terms of sales, Android took off and is today the most popular mobile operating system around the world. It powers phones, tablets, laptops, cars, televisions and much, much more, touching billions of lives.
In late 2009, it was announced that Orange and T-Mobile would merge, to form the UK’s largest mobile network with approximately 37% of the market. By 2012, almost all of T-Mobile’s branding and presence in the UK had gone, and by 2015, the last vestiges of the brand were eliminated.
EE becomes a BT company
On February 5th, 2016, BT Group announced they would be purchasing EE in a deal worth £12.5 billion, subject to regulatory approval. That approval came on the 15th of January, 2016. The deal was finally closed on the 29th of January 2016 with Deutsche Telekom taking on 12% of BT’s stock and Orange retaining 4% of the stock.
Only time will tell what BT plan to do with the EE brand, but it seems very unlikely we’ll see the return of the T-Mobile brand any time soon.