Deutsche Telekom (DT) would consider either floating its Netherlands business or merging with rival Tele2, Reuters reported.
In a Q&A at a Morgan Stanley investor conference, CEO Timotheus Hoettges said the company was considering its options for the unit, as he discussed DT’s future strategy in the wake of its failure to merge its T-Mobile US business with Sprint.
T-Mobile Netherlands is currently the third-largest operator in the Dutch market with 3.6 million mobile connections, according to GSMA Intelligence estimates for Q3. This puts it well behind KPN’s 7.9 million and VodafoneZiggo on 5 million.
Tele2 is fourth in the market with 1.2 million – meaning a combination with T-Mobile would see it challenge for second, but still be 3 million connections behind the market leader.
Speculation around the future of DT’s Dutch unit are nothing new, with the company mulling a €5 billion sale in 2015. At the time, Liberty Global was touted as a possible buyer among several investment companies.
The rationale behind the mooted sale was DT’s goal to move away from mobile-only businesses in favour or multiplay offerings.
Liberty Global eventually dropped its interest in favour of a joint venture with Vodafone and subsequently created converged player VodafoneZiggo. The deal also meant Vodafone was forced to sell its fixed unit to T-Mobile, which in turn made a Dutch exit by DT less likely as it was no longer a mobile-only business.
At the Morgan Stanley event, Hoettges also said the company was considering spinning-off its German tower assets into a separate unit.
This would see the company follow several operators around the world, which have separated or sold stakes in infrastructure units during the last 12 months.