When the story broke that Vodafone and 3 were going to merge their Australian operations, I was on a plane. But coming late to the news hasn't made much practical difference, because in terms of the impact on current customers and future product plans -- the two elements that are of interest to Lifehacker readers, rather than the fiscal mechanics of the deal -- there's not that much to know as yet. Even assuming the deal gets approved, the long-term nature (24 months or more) of most contracts means that it will be a long time before there's any change for most customers. Our most consistent criticism of 3 has been its high roaming costs outside capital cities, which will probably disappear eventually. On the other hand, 3's super-cheap mobile broadband deals will probably also get subsumed into slightly more costly plans. Given Vodafone's dominance in the new joint venture, if you were in the market for a new phone or 3G plan, Vodafone might seem a better choice. But the ultimate guiding principle should be the suitability of the deal as it stands, not how it might change in the future.