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British Telecom Mulls Reentry into Mobile Market

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The UK's dominant landline operator, British Telecom (BT) is reported to be in talks to re enter the mobile phone market, 12 years after it sold off what is now the O2 mobile network.

At the time BT was forced to sell the company due to its heavy debts following the bursting of the telecoms bubble. Since then it has attempted a number of modest reseller agreements but never pushed hard to be a mobile service provider again.

Vodafone is the current supplier of its mobile services, and is reportedly being asked to retender for the contract.

The company has now however secured a block of 4G radio spectrum for a payment of USD289 million to the regulator in its recent auction.

"We can confirm we're looking for a fresh partnership with a mobile operator. We won some excellent 4G spectrum just recently so it makes sense for us to explore the new opportunities that 4G presents," BT told the Financial Times. "We have a strong position in the WiFi market and we are looking to build on that."

Quite what the company plans to do with its radio spectrum assets is still unclear, but some sort of capacity sharing agreement with a mobile network is seen a highly likely. BT is already a major supplier of backhaul capacity to the mobile networks through its landline network. Its domestic broadband service also underpins the functionality of most consumer femtocells offered by the mobile networks.

On the web: Financial Times

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Tags: british telecom  UK