Spanish telco Telefónica could bid against Vodafone to acquire T-Mobile UK, FT.com has reported.
Telefónica fears O2, its UK subsidiary, could lose top position in the market if Vodafone succeeds.
Together Vodafone, the second largest operator by subscribers, and T-Mobile, the fourth largest, would have 40% of the market. O2 currently has 27%.
Separately, France Telecom is considering a joint venture between its UK mobile business Orange and T-Mobile UK.
T-Mobile’s parent, Deutsche Telekom, is seeking to sell the operator after years of under-performance. It is valued at between €3 billion-€4 billion, FT.com said.
The German telco was hoping for an asset swap deal to staunch the blow of exiting an important market, FT.com said, but sources admitted it would be difficult to clinch.
France Telecom has denied planning a takeover for T-Mobile UK, but sources told the paper that it was considering a joint venture in which the assets of Orange and T-Mobile UK would be put into a partnership, and France Telecom could avoid making any payment to Deutsche Telekom.