Three owner Hutchison Whampoa in exclusive talks to buy O2

Are we heading for three super-networks in the UK?

A UK super-network comprising Three and O2 could be on the cards, with Hutchison Whampoa in 'exclusive' talks to buy Telefonica's UK network for around £10 billion.

With BT's purchase of EE well advanced, the UK could see its market shrink to three huge networks as Vodafone, Hutchison Whampoa compete against the grand old British telecommunications giant.

Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa own the fast-growing Three network, but the addition of O2 would immediately give it massive scale.

Holding pattern

"We await the outcome of Telefónica's exclusive negotiations with Hutchison Whampoa," an O2 spokesperson told TechRadar.

"Subject to agreement as a result of these negotiations and any necessary approvals including merger clearance, this will strengthen our future as a leading, and highly trusted UK communications provider at a time when the demand for mobile connectivity has never been greater.

"Three is known for campaigning on behalf of its customers, much like O2. We are confident that an agreement will mutually benefit the customers of both companies, as well as drive better value, quality and investment in one of the most digitally competitive countries in the world."

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Global Editor-in-Chief

Patrick (Twitter) is Global Editor-in-Chief for techradar, and has been with the site since its launch in 2008. He is a longstanding judge of the T3 Awards, been quoted or seen on everything from the The Sun to Sky News and is on the #CoolBrands Council. He started his career in football, making him one of approximately one journalists to have covered both a World Cup final and an iPhone launch.