It's looking as if BT has beaten 3 in the race to acquire a mobile network – and EE has emerged as the target.
The Register reports that, following news that the pair were in talks last month, a 12.5bn deal is now on the table. There is understandably lots of due diligence work to take place over the next few weeks before a final agreement can be decided upon and closed.
The deal will see Deutsche Telekom acquire a 12 per cent stake in BT and be given the power to appoint one person to BT's board of directors. Orange would also acquire a four per cent stake.
BT's overarching goal here is to add EE's pre-built mobile 4G infrastructure to its own landline and Wi-Fi networks.
Business Week adds that mobile rival Vodafone intends to ask UK regulator Ofcom to ensure that monopolies laws are abided by and that BT won't up the rates it charges wireless carriers for transmitting voice and data traffic.
The main issue will be some sort of conglomerate issue, the fact that BT could theoretically leverage its position in fixed, for example, to bundle fixed and mobile, to the detriment of mobile operators,” explained lawyer Emanuela Lecchi.
It's also possible that the combined company will be forced to divest excess wireless frequencies.
Some are now asking if 3, having seemingly lost out on the chance to acquire the UK's largest mobile network, will now make a move to snap up former BT company O2.