So both EE and O2 have both confirmed that they had started talks with BT over some sort of takeover. Reports now indicate that these talks have caused an unlikely source to consider a bid of its own. Who is this mysterious new bidder? None other than Hutchison Whampoa, the company that owns Three.
According to Reuters, BT is set to decide upon its action in the coming weeks and this may prompt rival bids from the Hong Kong based company. Obviously this would need to be approved by regulatory bodies in both the UK and the EU because some might claim taking over another network would give Three an unfair advantage, especially if that network is as big as EE.
Buying O2 may still cause problems, but would be the less complicated approach. O2 is much smaller than EE, and doesn’t control anywhere near as much mobile spectrum. By merging with Three one could argue that it puts both networks in a better position to compete with both EE and Vodafone.
It is a bit worrying that the number of mobile networks with their own infrastructure appears to be dwindling. First Orange and T-Mobile merged to form EE, and now this might happen. It’s definitely going to be interesting to see where this goes.