Telco giants Vodafone and BT are allegedly holding talks to find a way to share the high cost of building third generation mobile networks.

Though the companies are archrivals, BT, struggling under a debt mountain which could end up topping £30bn, is reportedly very keen to do a deal with Vodafone to recover some of the costs of the licences. Furthermore, according to reports, BT is also holding similar talks with mobile operator One2One.

BT and Vodafone refused to confirm or deny the rumours.

The two companies stand to save up to £2bn pounds over 10 years if they can forge an agreement over 3G, according to the Observer newspaper.

In a press conference last month, Vodafone chief executive Chris Gent warned that 3G won't have any "major impact" on the market until 2003 or 2004, though he stressed that Vodafone is still very enthusiastic about the prospect of new mobile technologies.