Telewest looks to mobile phones for expansion

Telewest, the UK's largest cable operator, is exploring ways of expanding its recently formed partnership with the pounds 5bn merged cable group planned by Cable & Wireless into mobile telephony in a move which could cut across alliances in the industry.

The discussions, which are understood to be at an early stage, are also thought to have taken place with all four mobile networks aimed at launching a mobile phone product which the two cable groups could market together as the distinction between fixed and mobile phones becomes increasingly blurred.

The talks are sensitive: C&W already partners one of Telewest's main shareholders, the American phone group US West, in One 2 One, the fourth- largest mobile company.

C&W has already pledged to include mobile telephony in its new cable company, C&W Communications (CWC), formed out of the merger of its Mercury subsidiary with two cable operators, Nynex CableComms and Bell Cablemedia. So far C&W has kept investors guessing about whether One 2 One would be brought into the company. However the latest talks suggest both CWC and Telewest may choose to work with a rival mobile company instead, with the possibility that Orange may emerge as the preferred candidate. A source close to the two partners explained: "It has to be the best product. One 2 One would have to demonstrate that it fulfils that role."

The collaboration between Telewest and CWC already involves a digital cable television service, due to be launched towards the end of this year. They have already leapfrogged plans by BSkyB for a digital satellite channel by announcing the first firm hardware contract with a US electronics group to make the set-top boxes which will enable viewers to access more than 100 channels.

Stephen Davidson, Telewest's chief executive, declined to give details of the latest exploratory talks, but said: "We are looking at a raft of individual matters on which it makes sense to co-operate. It provides a platform for a more cohesive approach which has sometimes been lacking in the cable industry in the past."

Telewest yesterday revealed a 52 per cent rise in revenues last year to pounds 290.3m and disclosed that it broke even for the first time in 1996 before including the heavy depreciation and interest costs associated with building the network.

Investment during 1996 was pounds 515.6m, taking the total outlay so far to pounds 1.7bn with 65 per cent of the network built. Mr Davidson predicted Telewest would spend a similar amount this year.

The extra spending pushed overall pre-tax losses to pounds 249.9m, compared with pounds 114.7m in 1995.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor