French operator Iliad called a halt to its bid for T-Mobile US, in a move that immediately sparked talk of renewed interest in domestic rival Bouygues Telecom.
Iliad ended its pursuit of T-Mobile US after an improved offer failed to gain traction with parent Deutsche Telekom.
A new raft of domestic consolidation in France’s ultra-competitive mobile market is now possible, with Bouygues and Iliad viewed as likely partners.
Having previously held merger talks (both failed) with rivals SFR and Orange, it was thought Bouygues might finally find a match in Iliad earlier this year. But instead the low-cost operator promptly announced its surprising US bid.
Bouygues then said it was pushing ahead with its own plans in the absence of any takeover offers, which involve staff redundancies and a focus on pushing 4G to its subscribers.
Now the distraction of T-Mobile US has gone, the chances of talks between the two French operators are increased.
The share prices of Iliad, Bouygues and Orange all rose following news that the T-Mobile US bid was no longer being pursued.