France Telecom has dismissed claims that it was on the verge of buying beleaguered Deutsche Telekom T-Mobile UK for its mobile phone network Orange.
A spokesperson for France Telecom told Reuters that the company had made no offer for T-Mobile and had not been asked to make an offer. This follows a claim saying by the Observer newspaper which understood that Orange had offered a bid for the company but was rejected.
T-Mobile has been performing quite poorly during the last few months which has prompted rumours that Deutsche Telekom, coerced by its two main shareholders (Blackstone and the German Government), might be looking to recoup losses by selling it as soon as possible.
This has prompted rumours of a potential tie-up with fifth placed 3 Networks, owned by Hutchinson Whampoa, with whom it already has a partnership.
Earlier last month, it emerged that the T-Mobile had written down around £1.6 billion for its mobile operations in the UK, bringing it down to £3.3 billion and has yet to catch up the top three major UK mobile phone networks.
Other industry rumours - The Guardian - point out to the fact that Vodafone could be willing to swap its Turkish telecoms asset for T-Mobile UK probably with some capital as well. T-Mobile already controls Greek Operator OTE.
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UK is the only market in the Europe where you have five networks (and a number of smaller MVNO - Mobile Virtual Network operators like Tesco or Asda). This is why UK is the most competitive market and where customers can expect some of the best deals around. T-Mobile demise could mean that its 16 million or so customers (including those from Virgin Mobile) could be up for grabs.
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