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Owners of British mobile network EE stall IPO plans

An Everything Everywhere (EE) mobile phone store sign is seen in London February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Neil Hall
An Everything Everywhere (EE) mobile phone store sign is seen in London February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Neil Hall

(Reuters) - Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG and France's Orange said on Friday they will maintain the current management structure of their joint venture EE, putting on hold plans to float the largest mobile operator in Britain.

EE, created in 2010 after France Telecom combined its Orange brand with Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile in 2010, was valued by the German telecom operator at 10 billion pounds ($15.1 billion) 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.

Deutsche Telekom last year said it would prefer a partial listing of EE, the company that launched Britain's first super fast 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 on Friday, citing people with knowledge of the decision.

Formerly known as Everything Everywhere, EE has more than 27 million customers and competes with Telefonica's 02 brand, Vodafone, and Hutchison's 3 brand.

(Reporting by Abhirup Roy in Bangalore; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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