France Telecom (FT) would consider offering investors a stake in its Everything Everywhere joint venture with Deutsche Telekom (DT) as the potential of the UK operator starts to be realised, according to a senior FT executive.
Such a move, according to FT CFO Gervais Pellissier, would likely see the co-owners remaining in control of the business, but "it could be an opportunity," he said at the Reuters Global Technology and Media summit.
"If EE is really on the right track in terms of synergies and if we can make a good case to investors, we might look at a listing," Pellissier said. "But my feeling is we would keep control, both of us."
However, the executive acknowledged that the joint venture had taken longer than expected to achieve the much hyped synergies when the merger was first announced. "In the first two years we didn't dismantle any antennas; now we are taking down 2,000-3,000 a year and in about two years we will be at our target."
Pellissier added that the more tricky issue of reducing costs on stores and dual branding for Orange UK and T-Mobile UK had yet to be properly tackled. "There will be a new brand probably, whether the two other brands survive or not that is a big question," he told Reuters.
For its part, Deutsche Telekom has confirmed that it has is no intention of exiting the UK market, and wants to participate in the move to LTE and gain from the upsurge in mobile traffic.
However, analysts believe that the German operator may have to relinquish its holding in Everything Everywhere to protect its dividend and strengthen its fixed and mobile business in its domestic market.
- see this Reuters article
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