BT's 4G spectrum win could prompt unlikely reunion with O2, reports claim

BT's 4G spectrum win could prompt unlikley reunion with O2, reports claim
BT is hoping to re-enter the mobile market

British Telecom is on the lookout for a network partner to assist its re-entry into the consumer mobile market, following its surprise win in the UK's 4G spectrum auction last month.

The Financial Times reported on Thursday that BT is preparing to make a major push mobile push after snapping up £200m-worth of 4G spectrum.

That'll mean the company will need a mobile network to help power any new service and with that in mind has begun a tender process to find the right partner.

The renewed mobile efforts could see a reunion with O2, which until 2001 was a part of BT's core business before being broken up and then sold to Telefonica in 2005.

Prefers a deal with O2

The FT article points out that O2, EE and Vodafone will answer BT's call, but the company is thought to prefer a deal with O2, according to sources familiar with the matter.

A deal and spectrum sharing arrangement would aslo be beneficial for O2, which didn't acquire any of the higher frequency 2.6GHz spectrum during the recent auction.

BT has so far been coy about its plans for the 4G spectrum it surprisingly obtained and has more than is required simply to boost its mobile network.

The report suggest BT will be looking to augment its home broadband experience by giving customers access to 4G connectivity and voice services when away from home or hotspots.

The company said: "We can confirm we're looking for a fresh partnership with a mobile operator. We won some excellent 4G spectrum just recently so it makes sense for us to explore the new opportunities that 4G presents. We have a strong position in the WiFi market and we are looking to build on that.

"[BT is] rolling out fibre at breakneck speed and it's obvious that customers want decent speeds when they're out and about as well as at home."

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.