There have been rumours circling about a big offer for the large UK mobile network O2 for a number of months now. Stories and leaks have popped up surrounding British Telecom making a move back into the mobile market with a large offer. Now it would seem they are hot property as at least three other companies are interested in purchasing O2 from Telefonica.
Big brands Sky and Talktalk are both interested in boosting customer base and taking on a mobile platform. Reports from Spain have indicated that both companies have held meetings with Telefonica. All this comes after a proposed deal with BT – who spun off from o2 in 2000, and eventually sold the o2 network to Telefonica back in 2005. This deal is believed to be scrapped in favour of a £12.5 billion for rival company EE.
o2 In The Sky
Sky will almost certainly be looking to add an established mobile network to its paid TV and internet provider branding. Providing everything under one banner, and one monthly payment, matching the fierce rival Virgin media. Virgin already provide a MVNO using EE, however uptake of combined bundles has been lacklustre.
The Financial Times believes that a purchase by Sky would be almost impossible due to Sky’s large debts accrued following a £7 billion expansion into Europe.
Sky are far more likely to want a partnership deal to part own the company, which is one reason Hutchison Whompoa – the Hong Kong based corporation behind the high speed network Three – may be considering a bid for o2 in the region of £9 billion. To avoid any boost to an already fierce rival and bolster their own network coverage and customer base.
Talktalk and talk, and talk..
Talktalk on the other hand already have a small mobile network of its own using the o2 network. This may give them some sway in a purchase of the network. Fresh from the purchase of Blinkbox from Tesco they will look to add a large mobile network alongside its TV and phone packages.
Either way, o2 will change hands in the near future as Telefonica look to pay off debts. Where it goes nobody knows, but in my experience I hope it doesn’t combine with another network to reduce choice and competition. Let us know you thoughts in the comments below or on social media.