O2 plays down takeover talk

Reports that O2 will buy an ISP such as Bulldog are 'highly speculative', the mobile operator has claimed, saying the fixed-mobile convergence market is 'embryonic'

O2 has played down speculation that it may buy a UK ISP as part of a move towards offering converged telecoms services.

A report in Friday's Independent suggested that the mobile operator, which is owned by Spain's Telefonica SA, is considering making a bid for broadband providers Bulldog or Tiscali.

But Simon Gordon, O2's head of media relations, said on Friday that the report was "highly speculative".

"Our strategy at the moment is that we have businesses in Germany and also now in the Czech Republic," he told ZDNet UK. "Both those businesses have a fixed-mobile arm and offer converged services. We're taking those findings and looking to see if we can apply these here in the UK and Ireland. We're merely reviewing options at the moment."

Calling the market for such converged services "embryonic", Gordon denied that there was a timescale or specific target company in place for such a move.

Friday's report followed weeks of speculation over whether O2 would be making a play for a broadband provider such as Bulldog or Tiscali.

All UK mobile operators are currently under intense scrutiny as companies begin to move towards converging their cellular services with broadband, fixed phone-lines and even digital television products. In recent months, NTL has acquired Virgin Mobile and Carphone Warehouse has begun offering free broadband services to its fixed line subscribers.


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