Earlier this week, we reported that BT were in early talks with Telefonica and O2 to potentially reach a deal to put the pair back together. At the time, there were rumors that BT were not just courting O2 and Telefonica but also EE, and now the UK’s largest 4G network has come forward and confirmed that they are indeed in preliminary talks with BT which could result in a sale of the business to BT. The news is no longer rumor, as an Orange Press Release titled “Deutsche Telekom and Orange are having exploratory discussions with BT” basically spells it out for us, confirming that the three are in “highly preliminary exploratory discussions”. While we’re not sure what makes early talks “highly” preliminary, we assume that Orange and Deutsche Telekom, the 50/50 team behind EE are looking to calm the markets a little bit.
It’s been said before that Deutsche Telekom might be keen to get out of the UK market, and while a deal might be reached, as Engadget notes gaining approval might be an uphill battle. As it stands, BT is one of the UK’s largest providers of Broadband Internet and we can’t imagine the UK Government would be 100% behind BT purchasing the UK’s largest network, at least at not first, anyway. Compared to bringing back O2 into the fold, purchasing EE could be a better move for BT. After all, EE has a well-established 4G network in place already and with the little 4G spectrum they picked up at last year’s auction, the pair could deliver Internet services on a level not seen before, something BT is particularly good at.
While there’s no telling just how soon these talks will come to a close, it’s safe to assume that nothing will be decided before 2014 closes. Either a deal with O2 or EE would have big implications on the UK market, perhaps not for consumers that would continue to use their services as normal, but building a BT with not only excellent landline services but also some of the best wireless services as well would mean a lot for competition in the market.