British pay-TV broadcaster Sky revealed plans today to launch mobile phone services next year in a tie-up with Spain's Telefonica, in the latest mega-deal shaking up the telecoms sector.
Under the multi-year agreement, Telefonica UK will give the group wholesale access to 2G, 3G and 4G services over its popular nationwide phone network, Sky said in a statement that disclosed no financial terms.
"As the UK's leading brand for home entertainment and communications, Sky has a proven ability to launch new services, at scale," said chief executive Jeremy Darroch. "We know our 11.5 million customers trust Sky to offer them the best quality and choice and have an appetite to take more from us."
The announcement follow news this week that Telefonica was in talks to sell its British mobile phone unit O2 to Hong Kong's Hutchison Whampoa for USD 15.4 billion.
Sky has been in talks for some time to use the network to operate a mobile service and it is understood that its plans will be unaffected by the Hutchison deal. Meanwhile, rival group BT -- which competes with Sky for broadband Internet, telephone and TV football coverage -- is currently in talks to buy Britain's biggest mobile phone operator EE for 12.5 billion pounds.
Back in November, Sky changed its name from BSkyB after completing the purchase of Sky Italia and a majority holding in Sky Deutschland, creating a pan-European pay-TV giant. Sky is 39-percent-owned by Rupert Murdoch's media empire 21st Century Fox.