BT Looks for New Mobile Partner Deal After Winning 4G Spectrum

BT Group Plc, the biggest fixed-line phone company in the U.K., plans to use spectrum for faster fourth-generation mobile services to get a better deal on its wholesale agreements with wireless carriers.

The company, which put out a tender for new partners a few weeks ago, currently has an agreement with Vodafone Group Plc, Ross Cook, a BT spokesman, said. A Vodafone U.K. spokesman declined to comment.

BT agreed to pay 186.5 million pounds ($287.8 million) for spectrum that can carry 4G mobile signals in the U.K.’s auction earlier this year. The London-based company was the only fixed-line carrier to win access to the airwaves in the bidding, which raised 2.34 billion pounds total. Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom AG and France Telecom SA’s British venture EE, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd.’s Three and Telefonica SA’s O2 also won licenses.

“Now we’ve won 4G spectrum, we have got a strong hand to get a better deal,” Cook said. “Some of the mobile operators might want to use it.”

BT’s agreements with Vodafone for consumer and enterprise service and handsets were worth a little more than 10 million pounds a year, a person familiar with the details said, who asked not to be named because the terms are private. Vodafone is eligible to bid for the contract again, the person said.

The Financial Times reported on the new negotiations earlier today.

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