BT shares surged on news that the top dogs of BT and MCI are in Japan and understood to be in discussions with NTT chiefs.
Officials from BT confirmed the company's chairman, Iain Vallance, and MCI chairman, Bert Roberts, are in Japan this week but refused to comment on whether they are meeting NTT officials.
BT is desperate for a significant alliance in the Far East and Asia Pacific regions. Together, BT and MCI boast coverage in all the major European countries plus most of the US, but have a significant gap around the Far Eastern hub.
NTT is currently a member of the World Partners alliance, which pulls together the AT&T/Unisource joint venture with Asia Pacific players including Australian telecomms provider, Telstra, plus Singapore Telecom and Telecom New Zealand.
Robin Bosworth, partner at research company Schema, said: ?An alliance would enable BT, MCI and NTT to offer end-to-end global services.?
BT has been courting NTT for three years. A full-scale alliance with the Japanese giant is more feasible now that plans to break up NTT have been finalised. Part of the deal is to end the current ban on NTT offering many international services.
BT's shares rose to an annual high of 420 pence on the rumours.
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