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EE UK Owners Set to Moot Post-Summer 2014 Stock Market Launch

Friday, Jun 6th, 2014 (8:25 am) - Score 420

Mobile and Internet provider EE (Everything Everywhere) could move from being a private to public company in the United Kingdom through an Initial Public Offering (IPO), which is to be considered by the joint venture owners Orange (France Telecom) and Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile) after the summer break.

The prospect of a stock market launch is nothing new to EE and was first proposed as a future direction during last year’s strategic review (here), which also occurred at around the same time that a group of private equity firms (i.e. KKR, Apax Partners, Blackstone and CVC Capital Partners) were said to be considering an offer of £10 Billion for the operator (note: this is around the same value as it would be given via an IPO).

At the time EE were still busy building out their new 4G (LTE at 1800MHz) network, which is expected to achieve its coverage target of 98% (UK population) by the end of 2014 (roughly one year before their rivals) and meanwhile their fixed line home broadband options are starting to show some good growth (here). In other words, late 2014 or 2015 might be a good time for an IPO.

According to a report on Bloomberg, Orange’s finance chief (Gervais Pellissier) has confirmed that an IPO is still the preferred option but they will re-examine this if any of their primary rivals begin bundling broadband, TV and mobile. So far Three UK has shown no sign of doing this, while O2 backed out of a similar direction (sold its fixed line base to Sky Broadband) and Vodafone, which also scrapped its home broadband (‘At Home’) service some years ago, are said to be discussing options with BSkyB but we’ve yet to see a firm direction.

Meanwhile most of the major operators will also be keeping one eye on BT to see how their new 2.6GHz based 4G mobile services end up being received. BT intends to make a 4G solution available to its business customers this summer 2014 and they’ll launch a consumer service for residential users in April 2015.

But BT has also clarified that its first consumer services will be based off their recent Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) deal with EE (here). Meanwhile they intend to make use of their 2.6GHz band as part of a special converged service with WiFi and fixed lines via new embedded technology in their routers (Home Hub 6?) and small cells.

UPDATE 10:34am

In related news, EE’s 4G network has now expanded to another 15 towns including West Kirby, Gateshead, Birkenhead, East Grinstead, Leighton Buzzard, Wallasey, South Shields, Wakefield, Coatbridge, Lisburn, Bangor (NI), Newtownards, Omagh, Port Talbot and Neath.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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