LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s biggest mobile phone operator, Everything Everywhere, is in advanced discussions to sell part of its spectrum holdings to rival network Three, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.
The operator has been forced to sell the spectrum, capable of carrying next generation 4G mobile services, by European competition authorities.
The deal would give Three, owned by Hutchison Whampoa 0013.HK, guaranteed ownership of the rare spectrum, which is seen as crucial for video, interactive gaming and downloading films and music.
The newspaper cited people with knowledge of the discussions as saying the deal had not been finalized, but that an agreement was “imminent”.
Three could also get the spectrum at a potentially lower price than bidding against its rivals in an auction of lower frequency 4G spectrum penciled for the end of the year by Ofcom, the British telecoms regulator, the newspaper said.
The sale could raise more than 200 million pounds ($314.07 million), although the price was likely to be much lower given potential advantages in the market for Everything Everywhere in the forthcoming auction, it said.
Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Richard Pullin