Tesco Mobile Could Become a Major UK Operator

By Gary Cutlack on at

Tesco is said to be thinking about ditching O2 and going all-in with its Tesco Mobile joint venture, with sources claiming it's thinking about buying O2's half of the business and becoming a proper mobile network all by itself.

For a supposed price tag of around £300m the deal could be done according to insiders, although Tesco is hedging itself in the following statement: "Tesco is an interested party in the merger review process. It is important that any landscape created by the merger process allows challenger brands, such as Tesco Mobile, to deliver the best possible services for UK customers, and champions consumer choice."

By which it means it's looking to see what happens in the aftermath of the O2 and 3 merger plans. Three's global owner Hutchison wants to buy O2, but UK regulator Ofcom doesn't appear to be entirely keen on the idea. Perhaps O2 ditching its half of Tesco Mobile and therefore offloading its 4.5m users might be enough to swing approval for the merger.

Hence Tesco being an "interested party" in case anything needs to be sold off cheap and in a hurry in order to get contracts approved and signed. [IBT]

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