T-Mobile UK not for sale, says CEO; but speculation heightens

Despite rampant speculation, René Obermann, Deutsche Telekom's CEO, has indicated that he sees the company as staying in the UK with its T-Mobile subsidiary. He stated he believed in T-Mobile UK becoming successful in the medium to long term because the network sharing deal with 3UK would allow T-Mobile to market itself more aggressively.

This somewhat half-hearted measure of support for T-Mobile UK came after Deutsche Telekom (DT) CFO, Timotheus Hoettges, had set the equity value of the company's operations in the UK at £3.3 billion, and Obermann had said that consolidation would be good for the UK market.

Given that no firm statement has come from DT or Blackstone--a major DT investor--that T-Mobile UK is not for sale, the rumour mill has gone into overdrive. An early runner to acquire the business, France Telecom's Orange, seems to have ruled itself out of the bidding with its finance chief appearing to pour cold water on an imminent deal. The next most heavily tipped company is BT with its new CEO, Ian Livingston, known to be harbouring an interest in making a serious mobile play. Having been forced to sell its mobile arm some years ago, BT needs a mobile business to meet its ambitions as a fixed-line and mobile services operator.

For more on this story:
The Telegraph and Financial Times

Related stories:
T-Mobile and 3UK sign joint backhaul deal
Rumour mill: T-Mobile UK for sale, or merged with 3UK
Deutsche Telekom shocks markets with poor mobile ops performance
3UK mimics T-Mobile with launch of 3G wireless router

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