BT’s plan to buy Telefonica mobile phone network O2 looks set to go ahead, This is Money reports this morning.
Business Insider noted last month that BT is in talks to take over either O2 or EE in a deal said to be worth around £10 billion as it looks to re-enter the mobile industry. The move is a bold one for the telecoms giant — and will likely spark a catalogue of responses from rivals such as TalkTalk and Virgin, which appear to be looking to America’s TV-internet-phone-bundling model for inspiration.
In the US, TV, internet services, landlines, and mobiles are combined in “quad play” packages. It’s about holding on to customers by making it cheaper for them to keep services they don’t want, like TV and landlines.
According to sources “familiar with the talks”, BT has chosen O2 over EE and a purchase is “imminent”. It could happen as early as this week.
BT was approached by Spain’s Telefonica and one of EE’s parent companies, Orange, last month. But analysts have suggested O2 would be a better match for BT — and a cheaper purchase. Although EE has around 3 million more users in the UK, it would have meant much more “regulatory hurdles”.
None of the companies involved are commenting the situation, but it’s believed BT wants to wrap up the acquisition before Christmas.
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