BT is reported to be in talks about a return to the
mobile phone market through a joint venture with T-Mobile and 3.
claimed that informal discussions have taken place between the companies about
branding, cost and revenue. Talks are thought to be at an early stage, as BT
looks at making another tilt at cracking the mobile phone market.
The report said that German-owned T-Mobile and Hong
Kong-based Hutchinson 3 are keen to look at new revenue streams for their
businesses in the UK – viewed as one of the most competitive markets in Europe.
BT demerged its Cellnet business in 2001, after
running a debt of £30bn. The company later marketed its ‘Fusion’ mobile service
in 2005 under a virtual network deal with Vodafone. The service worked from
jumping from a home wifi network to a mobile network and was eventually
abandoned after it failed to pick up customers. It still has a virtual network
service through a wholesale deal with Vodafone but has a relatively small
subscriber base, largely focussed on business customers.
The company’s chief executive, Ian Livingstone, who
took over from Ben Verwaayen in 2008, has ordered a strategic review for BT in
the mobile sector.