EE has more than 27 million customers

EE floatation put on hold by owners

Plans to float EE, Britain’s largest mobile operator, have been put on hold by its owners.

Germany's Deutsche Telekom and France's Orange said today they will maintain the current management structure of their joint venture EE, which has more than 27 million customers and competes with Telefonica's O2 brand, Vodafone, and Hutchison's 3 brand.

Created in 2010 after France Telecom combined its Orange brand with Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile in 2010, EE was valued by the German telecoms operator at £10bn last May.

"The shareholders have both agreed that the best option for value creation is to maintain the current ownership structure for the time being, and they look forward to continuing their successful cooperation in the UK market," Orange and Deutsche Telekom said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

Last year Deutsche Telekom said it would prefer a partial listing of EE, the company that launched Britain's first superfast 4G mobile network in October 2011. The owners had said that a decision would be made this year.

Deutsche Telekom and Orange put the IPO plans on hold after a strategic review of the business, as they felt the firm's valuation would rise once more people bought higher-margin mobile data packages in the 4G market, the Financial Times reported earlier today, citing people with knowledge of the decision.

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