Telewest looks to mobile phones for expansion
Thursday 13 March 1997
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.
- 1 Saudi Arabia mosque bombing: Two volunteer security guards hailed as heroes for stopping Isis suicide bomber reaching worshippers
- 2 Maisie Williams has an excellent message for one confused fan
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Tampon tax scrapped in Canada after petition convinces conservative government
- 5 Kate Moss on the naked Calvin Klein shoot and the obsession that ended her relationship
Saudi Arabia mosque bombing: Two volunteer security guards hailed as heroes for stopping Isis suicide bomber reaching worshippers
Maisie Williams has an excellent message for one confused fan
Archaeologists discover 2,400-year-old gold bongs in Russia
Tampon tax scrapped in Canada after petition convinces conservative government
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after British tourists complain of 'awkward' holidays
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
iJobs Money & Business
£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...
£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...