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Uber-utilities conglomerate Centrica wants to play telephone companies, according to splashes all over today's papers' business news sections. The move follows a discount telecoms to Centrica's Goldfish card holders, which attracted 13,000 subscribers in eight weeks. A company spokesman commented: "There are no firm plans as yet, we are really just exploring the idea. It is too early to say what kind of package we would be offering, it would depend very much on the operating environment. At the moment, we would still have to go through BT." Centrica is currently in informal talks with many industry players, saying that it makes strategic sense to investigate all the options. "Centrica is really becoming a service provider in the broadest sense," the spokesman added. Centrica used to be part of British Gas, not normally noted for its service provision. Other strings to Centrica bow include plumbing and -- soon -- car rescue, thanks to the impending acquisition of the AA. ®

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