The process of consolidation following the acquisition of E-Plus by Telefónica has begun with the announcement of a non-binding “Letter of Intent” between Telefónica Germany and German MVNO Drillisch for the latter to buy yourphone, which is currently a sub-brand of E-Plus.
The announcement states yourphone has 235,000 active subscribers, while Ovum’s WCIS service says Drillisch has around 2 million subscribers, so it will be looking at a 12% subscriber boost as a result of this deal. The combined operations of O2 Germany and E-Plus have around 43 million subscribers, placing them ahead of T-Mobile with nearly 40 million and Vodafone Germany with 28.5 million.
The deal will involve the acquisition of the brand, customers and employees of yourphone, and is expected to complete in January 2015. Telefónica Germany said it doesn’t intend to sell off any other E-Plus assets, but at the same time seems to think this sale is somehow indicative of an aggressive growth strategy.
“The potential sale of Hamburg based yourfone GmbH and its approximately 235.000 active subscribers clearly demonstrates Telefónica Deutschland’s determination to push ahead with the integration process under way and underlines the company’s ambition to become the leading digital telco in Germany,” said the announcement.
Operator sub-brands are relatively popular in Germany, especially for targeting the youth/prepaid market. While it’s not immediately clear why Telefónica thinks disposing of assets underlines its ambition, it’s likely that yourfone directly overlaps with an existing O2 Germany sub-brand and is thus considered superfluous.