UK broadband internet provider BT has purchased the UK’s largest mobile network EE from Deutshe Telekom and Orange for a reported 12.5 billion (approx $19.1 billion). There’s an arms race forming between major mobile providers in the UK. The announcement of BT purchasing EE comes just days after reports of a proposed merger between two other mobile providers in the UK, O2 and Three.
While Windows Mobile struggles to gain ground in the United States, market share in the UK doubled between 2013 and 2014 and as of August sits at 7.5%. While that number is lower than competitors Android and iOS it is a marked smaller difference than in the US. Their growth in the UK is not an isolated event. In developing markets that have not yet been dominated by iOS and Android Windows mobile fairs much better.
The purchasing of EE away from Orange also marks the end of ‘Orange Wednesdays’. Orange Wednesdays allowed customers to receive 2 for 1 movie tickets on Wednesdays at Cineworld. The end of the deal was announced last year and EE has looked towards discounted online movie rentals as a replacement. Over the holidays EE customers received a free movie rental through wuaki.tv. A few weeks after the promotion customers were contacted for a phone survey about their happiness with the online rental and how much they would enjoy discounted movies in the future. There has been no official word on the Orange Wednesday’s replacement and the sale to BT may or may not have an effect on future plans.
From personal experience people in the UK respond differently to my use of a Windows phone. While in the US people often receive funny looks for carrying a colorful Lumia, people don’t seem to care that I use a Windows phone. When I went to Verizon in the US to look at a Windows phone they attempted to talk me into buying a Samsung or iPhone. In the UK at multiple stores there was no effort to sway me towards a particular operating system. At popular retail stores and at carrier brick and mortar locations Windows phones are presented alongside iPhones and Android and are regularly featured in EE’s advertisements.