BT Wants to Buy Back O2 for Quad-Play Fight

By Gerald Lynch on at

It's been nearly a decade since O2 was under BT's wing, and now the telecoms giant wants it back. According to Spanish news site El Confidencial, BT is in early stage talks to buy back the mobile operator from European telecoms firm Telefonica, in a deal that could see BT hand over a 20 per cent stake as part of a new "strategic alliance".

BT sold O2 for nearly £17.7 billion, but with the market moving towards quad-play operators (providing home phone, mobile, TV and broadband deals in a single package), it seems BT once more wants a more substantial foothold in mobile infrastructure. BT's already showed an interest in establishing its own mobile service, holding a small chunk of the UK's 4G spectrum, and signing an MVNO deal with EE.

It's been suggested that BT may use its broadband routers and Wi-Fi hotspots (so prevalent in the UK) to boost its coverage, which suggests the service could lean heavily on VoIP. O2 isn't the only operator in BT's sights though. In a statement, BT reveals that it has "received expressions of interest from shareholders in two UK mobile network operators, of which one is O2, about a possible transaction in which BT would acquire their UK mobile business." [Engadget, Reuters, El Confidencial]