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Everything Everywhere Fears Loss of U.K. Share With One Brand

Everything Everywhere, the U.K. mobile-phone joint venture of France Telecom SA and Deutsche Telekom AG, fears that it would lose market share if it shuts the T-Mobile or Orange brand.

The venture, which operates the two brands separately in the U.K., will decide on their future by October, Richard Moat, deputy chief executive officer, said today in an interview at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

“There is a fear that if we consolidate one brand there could be a loss of market share, which we’d rather avoid,” Moat said. The company would need more than one brand to sustain more than 35 percent of market share, he said.

Everything Everywhere became the largest mobile-phone operator after the merger in 2009, overtaking Telefonica SA’s O2 unit. The company is seeking to cut more than 4 billion euros ($5.4 billion) from administration, marketing and network costs.

The company is working on “lots of different options,” Moat said. Everything Everywhere is running trials in a retail environment, including operating five own-brand stores, to help it decide, Moat said.

The company also renegotiated its contract with Virgin Media Inc. to run the network for Virgin’s mobile-phone operations, Moat said. The deal was signed at the end of December, Moat said, adding that the contract has “shaped and evolved” over time. Virgin Media has more than 3 million mobile-phone subscribers.

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