I was in East Grinstead the other week. You don't need to know why. They had a fresh and brand-spanking Everything Everywhere store (picture on the left courtesy of www.thisissussex.co.uk, my third favourite "this is" site in the South East). For those not from the UK or familiar with such things EE is a 50/50 joint venture between T-Mobile and Orange which has combined the two company's UK mobile assets. As well as their own stores they're also rolling out combined EE stores.
I can't help but think that this is crazy. I understand, of course, that it's good to reduce costs. One store in EG instead of two, for instance. But surely by using EE as a consumer brand they're throwing away a big opportunity. In lots of industries the same company tries to sell more-or-less the same product to different people at different prices. Basic segmentation. VW/Skoda/Seat for instance. Or PC World/Dixons/Currys. Surely it would be more sensible to hide the EE brand and use the Orange and T-Mobile brands to address different market segments.
I know the arguments about neither MNO wanting to devalue their brand by having theirs as the 'value' brand while the other is the premium. Fine. Don't. Do something more interesting. Use Orange as the business brand and T-Mobile as the youth brand or something like that. Either way, it would be a crying shame if EE threw away a set of perfectly serviceable brands with certain characteristics attached that could be used for segmentation.