BT to Bid for Pipex?

BT is reported to be mulling over a £350m plus bid for internet services provider Pipex.

The carrier is planning to steal a march on competitors by launching new mobile services over WiMAX earlier than expected with an announcement expected shortly, possibly at the 3GSM conference being held in Barcelona next week

BT intends to use WiMAX, a wide-area version of the short range Wi-Fi technology that BT already offers in hotels, homes and offices, to cover town centres. This dovetails with the launch of new Wi-Fi enabled mobile phones from manufacturers such as Nokia.

But according to one City source, the flaw in BT’s WiMAX strategy is the lack of a licence to operate in the WiMAX spectrum. Only two companies own WiMAX licences in the UK. One is Hong Kong-based PCCW and the other is UK ISP Pipex.

A source close to BT said it is considering a bid of more than £350m for Pipex to boost its plan to develop WiMAX networks in the UK.