Tesco Mobile wants to buy O2’s remaining stake in the business, according to reports.
Following the meeting between the key stakeholders in the Three/O2 merger it has emerged that the supermarket is keen to become an entirely autonomous MVNO.
O2 owns 50% of Tesco Mobile which was launched as a joint venture (JV) between the two companies in 2003.
It has been one of the most successful MVNOs in the UK and has managed to acquire around 4 million customers since it was launched.
It spawned a number of similar ventures by supermarkets and mobile networks. However, not all of them have managed to make the formula work. Mobile by Sainsbury’s, a JV between the supermarket and Vodafone was tipped to challenge Tesco Mobile at one stage, but the venture was shut down at the beginning of this year.
Much of the talk surrounding Tesco potentially buying out O2 is on the basis that the move would spark a major push from the supermarket into the mobile market.
It’s previously been suggested that TalkTalk would be keen to buy any spectrum that O2 and Three could be forced to give up.
The strength of the wholesale market has been consistently described as a key area for the regulators judging the Three/O2 merger. Any decisive action Tesco does take could have an impact on what the watchdog decides to do.