Three predicted to buy O2 in 2014

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Analysis firm CCS Insight said the move will see Three become a leading European operator

Three will acquire O2 to establish itself as a leading European operator next year, according to analysis firm CCS Insight.

The firm said O2 parent company Telefonica will take advantage of “favourable regulatory conditions” in the EU to sell its mobile business in the UK to reduce its debts.

Three acquired O2 Ireland this year as well as Orange in Austria.

CCS Insight also predicted that public wi-fi usage in the UK will peak in 2015 as the technology is made “less relevant” by the strong uptake of 4G.

With EE reporting that 43% of its customers use less public Wi-Fi after signing up to 4G services, this trend will continue as 4G becomes the norm for consumers, the firm said. The UK is set to become one of Europe’s most competitive markets for LTE, it added.

Yahoo is predicted to acquire Flipboard and Pinterest to bolster its mobile presence next year, while Twitter is expected to buy Snapchat.

Looking further, France Telekom and Deutsche Telekom are expected to merge completely (they make up EE in the UK) by 2015. “The move [will set] a precedent for other major mergers in European telecoms to challenge the likes of Verizon and China Mobile on the global stage,” the analysis firm said.

CCS Insight CEO and founder Shaun Collins said: “2013 has been a year of massive shake ups within the technology and telecoms sector. Nokia – Microsoft, Verizon – Vodafone and of course; Blackberry. Looking to the years ahead we expect this trend to continue. With various telecoms and technology giants under financial strain, the next few years should see yet more consolidation in this industry.”

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