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Mobile

BT's Bland Truths

It sounds like British Telecommunications plc (BT)'s (NYSE: BTY; London: BTA) chairman, Sir Christopher Bland, has no desire to let the kids move back in just yet.

Sir Bland, speaking at the UBS Warburg telecom conference in NYC, was asked about the speculation that BT could buy back its former mobile arm, mmO2 plc, which was originally spun off around this time last year.

Sir Bland didn't actually say such a thing was impossible, he just seemed skeptical of the whole idea.

"We've only just de-merged it," he told the crowd. "It would be quite odd behavior to get back together again."

Warming to his subject, Bland claimed there were sound financial reasons for not bringing the mobile company under its wing again. Mm02 is capital-intensive, losing cash, and unlikely to pay a dividend anytime soon, he told his audience. These are some of the reasons why BT got rid of its mobile arm in the first place.

"Besides," quoth Sir Bland, "In Britain, the regulator stops you from doing things like this."

In other words, this all seems quite sensible and plausible. And a lot more convincing than Bland's claim to be facilitating "Broadband Britain" [Ed note: an English oxymoron up there with the "Cornish Riviera," if you ask us].

"The government wants a broadband Britain, and we're the only game in town, at least for the moment," says Bland.

Having recently experienced the joys of trying to get a fast but temporary connection in BT's beautiful broadband Britain, Unstrung reckons you'd be better off sticking with a tin can and some string.

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung www.unstrung.com
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