British Telecom has begun searching for a new telecoms partner, following a surprise U-turn on its mobile ambitions.
The BT group snagged £200 million worth of the 4G spectrum in the recent auction, but at the time said that they had no intention of entering the mobile communications market. Instead, it was believed that BT would use the spectrum to bolster their national Wi-Fi hotspot network, perhaps giving customers a 4G router.
However, the telecoms giant has now begun a tender for an operator to provide mobile services to BT customers. While the tender is open to all the operators it is widely expected that O2 will be the preferred bidder.
O2 was originally owned by BT but was sold off to Telefonica in 2005. O2 failed to win any of the 2.6GHz spectrum that BT bought, which is why industry insiders believe that a deal could be done.
Talking to FT.com, a BT spokesman said: “We won some excellent 4G spectrum just recently so it makes sense for us to explore the new opportunities that 4G presents.”
Sam Gibbs of Gizmodo.co.uk speculated that BT could well bundle 4G services with its broadband package which would make it a very tempting overall offer for many consumers and businesses alike.