Vodafone has emerged as the front-runner for the UK arm of T-Mobile.
According to the Financial Times, Vodafone’s chief executive Vittorio Colao is keen for the purchase of T-Mobile to take place in order to consolidate the UK market.
Speculation over the future of T-Mobile’s UK division first arose when it was revealed that the German government and private equity group Blackstone were putting its parent company Deutsche Telekom under pressure to sell following poor results.
According to the FT, Vodafone is thought to have already offered its Turkish business to Deutsche Telekom as part of any deal.
However, any deal would be placed under close scrutiny from regulator Ofcom, as it would see Vodafone leapfrog market leader O2. O2 currently has 19m subscribers, Vodafone 18.5m subscribers, while T-Mobile UK has 16.8m UK customers.
Orange and BT have previously been linked with the UK operation, but both played down suggestions that they were planning to make a bid.