O2 shows interest in nabbing T-Mobile UK
23rd Jul 2009 | 16:47
European CEO: We're looking with interest
O2's parent company Telefonica's European CEO has said the company is interested in picking up ailing network T-Mobile UK.
The third largest UK mobile operator, currently owned by Deutsche Telekom but widely reported to be up for sale, has been linked with mergers from Vodafone, O2 and Orange in the UK, but this is the first time actual interest has been declared.
In an interview with the Financial Times in Germany CEO Matthew Key says the company is looking at the possibility of a merger 'with interest'.
However, he also points out that such a deal would require the Office of Fair Trading to approve the deal, as assuming another 20-odd per cent of the market would turn any network into a clear leader (apart from Hutchinson-owned 3).
As the UK market is so competitive it's unlikely such a move would be blocked by the OFT, as many other countries, such as Spain, have fewer networks.
T-Mobile has been a strong supporter of Android in the UK, with the G1 and G2 Touch handsets (both by HTC) while O2 only has the forthcoming Samsung i7500 Galaxy on the books.
Such a merger would give it instant access to the new popular OS on the block, as well as giving it nearly half the market share in the UK.