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BT would consider combining wholesale, OpenReach units if allowed

BARCELONA (Reuters) - BT , the former telecoms monopoly, said it would consider combining its wholesale division and OpenReach, its standalone business that makes its networks available to rivals, if the regulator allowed it.

Competitors such as TalkTalk and Sky deal with OpenReach to connect their own lines into BT's network rather than directly with BT to ensure they get fair access.

Rivals can also take fixed-line services from the BT wholesale division.

Chief Executive Gavin Patterson said he had "been looking" at merging the two divisions, but any change would need approval from regulator Ofcom.

"It's something we have periodically looked at ... over the last few years," he told the Morgan Stanley Tech, Media and Telecoms conference in Barcelona.

"When I listen to the service providers community often they say why don't we just have one point of contact, one counter in BT that can service through the 'build your own' versus the 'rent model'."

He said Ofcom could be minded to change the regulations if it were something service providers wanted.

(Reporting by Danilo Masoni; Writing by Paul Sandle; Editing by Mark Potter)