Vodafone has said it is considering trying to buy struggling British company Cable & Wireless Worldwide.
C&W Worldwide has fixed lines that are used by mobile operators to provide links to mobile phone transmitters and switching centres.
It has issued a string of profit warnings since its demerger from Cable & Wireless Communications in March 2010.
Vodafone, which is the world’s largest mobile operator in terms of revenue, could use that fixed-line network to boost bandwidth for customers accessing the internet via smartphones.
“Vodafone regularly reviews opportunities in the sector and confirms that it is in the very early stages of evaluating the merits of a potential offer for CWW,” the company said.
Vodafone could make a cash bid as it is flush with the proceeds of asset sales in France, Poland, Japan and China.
C&W Worldwide’s declined to comment on Vodafone’s statement.
Its shares, which have lost three-quarters of their value in the last 18 months, surged to a three-month high on Monday.