EE, currently the subject of a £12.5 billion (€15.7 billion/$19.6 billion) bid by BT, has made an acquisition of its own by snapping up shares it did not already own in communications distributor Mainline Communications.
BT's announcement this week that it has entered into exclusive negotiations with Deutsche Telekom and Orange over a potential acquisition of EE was generally given the thumbs up by analysts and industry players, although one question now being asked is what a successful deal might mean for rival mobile operator O2 UK and its parent company Telefónica.
With a Dutch CEO, and French and German parents, EE today has a more European than British flavour. That could all change if BT acquires the UK operator: the former UK incumbent entered into exclusive negotiations with EE shareholders Orange and Deutsche Telekom on Monday.
BT has entered into exclusive negotiations with Orange and Deutsche Telekom regarding the sale of EE, ending weeks of speculation over whether the former UK incumbent would choose to buy, EE or its rival O2 UK. The purchase price of £12.5 billion (€15.7 billion/$19.6 billion) would be split equally between Orange and Deutsche Telekom.
Telefónica Deutschland intends to put itself on an equal footing with Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone Germany by offering the same network quality as its rivals no later than 2017.
Where the U.S. eventually lands on the issue of net neutrality could have wider reaching international implications, including the possibility of rankling the U.N. and World Trade Organization (WTO).
Three UK said 3.1 million customers are now using its LTE services, representing more than a third of its total customer base of 8 million users.
Speculation about the future structure of the UK telecoms market reached fever pitch this week as some industry watchers placed their bets on whether BT would buy EE or O2 UK while others suggested Hutchison Whampoa could enter the race for one of the two mobile operators.
Whether BT now rues the day it sold O2 is a moot point; it now knows it needs a mobile strategy, and has confirmed it is in "highly preliminary" talks with O2 and one other operator--which Orange and Deutsche Telekom on Wednesday confirmed is EE. If BT does buy O2 or EE, there is a fair chance that its strategy to roll out a small cell network, building what some term as an "inside out" mobile network, may be put on hold.
BT said it is in early discussions with two mobile network operators about a possible acquisition, and confirmed that Telefónica-owned O2 UK is one of the companies involved.