British Telecom (BT) has confirmed it is looking to re-enter the mobile phone market in the UK, after securing a portion of the country's 4G spectrum.
Speaking to the Financial Times the company revealed it is “looking for a fresh partnership with a mobile operator" and that it "won some excellent 4G spectrum just recently so it makes sense for [the company] to explore the new opportunities that 4G presents.”
BT used to have a mobile phone network presence but it span this off as a separate entity back in 2002, forming BT Cellnet, which later became O2. Subsequently O2 was sold off to Spanish telecoms company Telefonica, further distancing it from BT.
While it is perfectly possible BT will partner again with O2, it is just as likely it will join with any of the rest of the competition, though given EE is already a merger of Orange and T-Mobile it is an unlikely candidate.
Overall, though, the move is appears a sensible one, as it will allow the company to offer a full spectrum of home and mobile 'broadband' offerings, with potential discount packages when buying both together.
BT acquired its 4G license back in February, along with EE, O2, Three and Vodafone, with of course EE already having secured some spectrum a few months earlier - a move that allowed it to bring 4G services to the UK way back in October 2012. In contrast, the more recently auctioned spectrum is unlikely to be online for several more months, regardless of who BT partners with.
(pay wall warning)