BT tipped to buy EE or O2 in return to mobile phone market

BT could return to the mobile phone market by buying back O2 or picking up network giant EE in a £10 billion spending spree.

The move would make BT a quad-play provider of broadband, TV, fixed line and mobile phone services with more customers than any other UK provider.

BT confirmed it is in preliminary discussions with shareholders in two UK mobile network operators, one of which is O2.

A BT spokesperson said: “We continue to develop our own plans for providing enhanced mobile services to business and consumer customers, in line with our previous announcements.

"We remain confident of delivering on these plans and have also been exploring ways of accelerating them, including assessing the merits of an acquisition of a mobile network operator in the UK.”

Analysts estimate that an O2 takeover would cost around £9bn while EE would cost more than £10bn, while both would cause complications in the UK’s cosy TV and telecoms industry.

O2 recently signed a deal to provide mobile services to TalkTalk, BT’s partner in the YouView TV consortium, while EE this month launched its own hybrid TV service for its broadband customers.

It’s more than 13 years since BT spun off its BT Cellnet mobile division as for £10bn, before it was taken over by Telefonica for £18bn in 2005.

DTG Staff  |  25.11.2014

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