Vodafone and Spain's Telefonica have put in conditional offers to buy T-Mobile UK and both are believed to have bid about 3.5 billion pounds for the business, says a media report.
"Vodafone and the owner of O2, Telefonica of Spain, have tabled conditional offers to buy T-Mobile UK as the race to create the biggest force in Britain's mobile-phone industry gathers pace," the Sunday Times has reported.
According to the publication, both companies are believed to have bid about 3.5 billion pounds for the business which has 16.6 million customers but lags behind its two big rivals and is being touted for sale by German owner Deutsche Telekom.
"The auction is now in its late stages and a decision is expected within weeks," it added.
The report noted that the offers, discussed by Deutsche Telekom's board at the end of the last month, have come in beneath the expectations of Rene Obermann, the Bonn group's chief executive.
"He is thought to prefer a third proposal submitted by France Telecom to merge T-Mobile UK with Orange. However, it is possible all the proposals could be rejected," the publication said.
The report noted the deal would give Vodafone a 40 per cent share of mobile-phone revenues and Telefonica, a 43 per cent share. "To avoid the threat of a deal being blocked, Telefonica and Vodafone have already proposed various concessions, which is why the bids are conditional," it added.