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Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom in deal to become UK's biggest operator

DEUTSCHE Telekom and France Telecom last night signed the final agreement to combine T-Mobile and Orange to create the UK&rsquo;s largest mobile operator.<br /><br />The two parent companies had been carrying out due diligence on the 50-50 venture, which was first announced on 8 September. It will now have to go to the regulators for approval, with a view to launching by the middle of 2010. The venture will have a 37 per cent market share, overtaking the current market leader O2, which has 27 per cent.<br /><br />T-Mobile yesterday reported a 14.6 per cent drop in year-on-year revenue in the third quarter to &pound;853m, and earnings nine per cent lower at &pound;159m, though the results showed consistent improvement since the first quarter of the year.<br /><br />Parent company Deutsche Telekom posted a third-quarter core profit above expectations at &euro;5.5bn (&pound;5bn) and confirmed its outlook for 2009 of adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation two to four per cent lower than the &euro;19.5bn it made in 2008.