City&FinanceBriefing London Lite Tuesday, 8 September 2009 35 Costlier calls fear in 7bn phone deal ORANGE and T-Mobile are poised to merge in a 7 billion deal which consumer experts fear could lead to increased charges. It would see a telecoms giant controlling 30 million mobile phone customers -- nearly four in 10. Major operators would shrink from five to four, so they would not have to compete as hard for business. Consumer groups warned that any deal needed to be scrutinised by industry watchdogs. John Holmes at Which? said the new operator would have less incentive to offer great price packages with such a dominant market position. He added: There would be seri- ous potential for weakened compe- tition with an operator with a 40% share of the market. With that number of customers they would have less incentive to offer great deals and may choose to focus on harvesting money from existing customers rather than growing their market share even further. That would mean price rises. France Telecom, which owns Orange, and Deutsche Telekom, which owns T-Mobile expect regula- tors to spend at least six months scrutinising the merger. But the deal is expected to get the green light, largely because all mobile phone companies enjoy a relatively strong bargaining position with the authorities. The Government wants every UK home to have access to extra-fast broadband by 2012, and operators are the only option for rural households. It is unclear whether Orange and T-Mobile will survive as separate brands, but T-Mobile is the most likely to disappear. A tie-up with Orange would relegate O2, owned by Spains Telefonica, and Britains Vodafone to second and third place respectively in the market. Right number: singer Pinks T-Mobile ad callsCostlier 7bninfear Right number: singer Pinks T-Mobile ad THE curse of the email has struck Kingfisher. The B&Q group was forced to report half-year figures nine days early after the numbers were inadvertently sent round the City yesterday afternoon. In a statement, Kingfisher today admitted: It has come to our attention that due to an administrative error some draft figures were circulated externally on the afternoon of 7 September. Whilst the numbers have not yet been formally approved, Kingfisher announces that it expects to report adjusted pre-tax profit in the range of 285m-290m for the six months to 1 August 2009. It is believed the figures were sent out in emails to City analysts who follow Kingfisher. Whoops! a DIY email disaster BY SRI CARMICHAEL Australia Dollars 1.8226 Canada Dollars 1.6911 Denmark Kroner 8.0913 Eurozone Euro 1.0904 Hong Kong Dollars 12.0400 Japan Yen 145.2600 New Zealand Dollars 2.2163 South Africa Rand 11.6500 Sweden Kronor 11.1900 Switzerland Francs 1.6505 UAE Dirham 5.6420 United States Dollars 1.5633 TOURIST RATES GOLD today exceeded $1000 an ounce for the first time in six months as the dollar weakened and fears grew over inflation. The metal -- a safe haven during economic trouble -- surged to $1002.70 as speculators bet that the trillions of pounds pumped into the global economy by central banks will raise the cost of living. BREWER and pub operator Greene Kings sales were up 4.6% in the 17 weeks to the end of August. The company raised 207 million from a rights issue this year, and has so far spent 45 million on buying new pubs and paying down debt. Its biggest recent deal was buying 11 boozers from Punch Taverns including the Bunch of Grapes in Knightsbridge. UP 16.54 at 4949.72 FTSE 100 DOW JONES NIKKEI -$ CLOSED for holiday UP 72.29 at 10,393.23 DOWN 0.52c at $1.64 >>For all the latest City share prices, call 0905 817 1694* or visit thisismoney.co.uk * Calls cost 75p/min from a BT landline & last approx 1 min per quote. Not all stocks are available index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html