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The world and his dog are sniffing around Onetel following Centrica's decision last week to flog its telecoms business.

According to weekend press reports the Carphone Warehouse is among a string of companies interested in the business, which has around 1.7m punters.

Among other potential bidders that might be prepared to stump up between £300m and £350m include France Telecom, which has ambitious plans to expand its services in the UK using its Orange brand.

Tele2, which has some 30m punters in 25 countries, LLU ISP EasyNet and satellite broadcaster BSkyB are also reportedly interested in making a bid.

Cable & Wireless (C&W) - which owns broadband ISP Bulldog - has ruled itself out of the running, say reports.

Centrica - which owns British Gas - confirmed last Thursday that it plans to sell its OneTel telecoms business.

The UK utility wants to concentrate on its energy operations and will use the cash from the sale of OneTel to invest in this business.

In a statement the company said: "Although the ability to offer a telecoms solution to our customers remains important, as part of focusing our capital and resources on energy and related home services we have now commenced the process to dispose of the Onetel business."

No one from OneTel was available to comment on weekend press reports at the time of writing. ®

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