France Telecom has brought in banks to advise on a part flotation or sale of its EE mobile operator brand, reports the Financial Times.
France Telecom jointly owns EE with Deutsche Telekom following a merger of the UK Orange and T-Mobile brands in 2010. The FT says France Telecom has now brought in Morgan Stanley as its lead bank to oversee the sell off process.
The FT says Bank of America Merrill Lynch is also expected to be handed a role in the process too, and says Deutsche Telekom is expected to appoint separate advisers.
Some analysts have placed a 10 billion (£8.47 billion) value on EE, which is the first operator to launch a 4G mobile service in the UK. It's ongoing value may well depend on how successful EE is in converting existing 2.5G and 3G customers to more expensive 4G mobile data contracts.
In February EE said its 4G service was available in a further nine towns and cities across the UK, bringing the total to 37 since the launch of the 4G network last year. It recently won more 4G spectrum to widen it service through an Ofcom auction, along with the other main UK mobile operators.