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Mobile Operator Three UK Counters BT by Mooting Own Bid for EE and O2

Friday, November 28th, 2014 (2:18 pm) - Score 1,512
three uk mobile broadband

Hold on to your hats because Three UK’s Hong Kong based parent, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., has reportedly decided to counter BT’s preliminary talks to buy O2 or EE by preparing to make a similar bid of its own. Suddenly there’s the prospect that BT might need to pay more than it planned.

The move would not be as surprising as it might first sound because Three UK’s CEO, David Dyson, has previously hinted that “under the right circumstances” the operator might be interested in a merger or outright purchase of rival O2 (here). As the smallest mobile operator Three UK doesn’t have the clout to nab O2, although parent Hutchison Whampoa has a lot more flexibility in the financial department.

According to Reuters, talks between Three UK and the two operators are already underway and a formal bid could be tabled before the end of this year. Meanwhile BT also appears to be working towards a similar timetable, which is likely to ignite a high-level bidding war and could unsettle some predictions about the probable outcome of BT’s mobile gamble.

In both instances any purchase of EE is likely to be the most complex option given their extensive spectrum ownership and general market size, not to mention the fact that EE is still working to complete the prior merger of Orange and T-Mobile into their single brand.

On the other hand Three UK already has a network sharing agreement with EE through the umbrella organisation Mobile-Broadband Network Limited (MBNL), which might create some problems if they picked O2 instead.

At the same time Three UK has so far shown zero interest in launching non-mobile services like TV, home phone and or home broadband, thus the benefit of gobbling O2 might be less than grabbing a ready-made quad play provider via EE and staying competitive in an increasingly converged market.

Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Avatar dragoneast

    It’s nearly Christmas. No-one wants to be left out of the party.

  2. Avatar zemadeiran

    Thank you Santa!

    After BT spent a shit load of money on sports rights…..

    I would also like to draw everyone’s attention to a “universal basic income” which would cost the country £130 Billion annually and would provide £2000 a month for every single 18+ person.

    Think about how this change would effect crime, nutrition, creativity, laziness, basic services. I am however pretty certain that together we can come up with solutions to any challenge thrown up.

    Regards to all.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      This seems to be just a little bit off topic…

    • Avatar DTMark

      The trouble with socialists is that they always run out of other peoples’ money.

      Just abandon the entire Welfare State. You cannot have a Welfare State of the type that we have, and democracy. They are at odds with each other.

      Job done.

  3. Avatar DTMark

    Is the reason that EE was never really “finished” (scrappy portal, broken functionality, repeated issues, non existent customer service) because it was always planned to be sold and integrated?

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