The third generation (3G) mobile operator 3 had reportedly denied its European business is up for sale.

According to rumours that began yesterday, China Mobile is in negotiations with 3’s parent, Hutchison Whampoa to sell off the European arm, within which 3’s UK operation is said to look particularly attractive.

But a 3 Ireland spokeswoman reportedly told siliconrepublic.com that the business will not be sold, dismissing the reports as “speculation”.

While some rumours say a deal is imminent, others also link telecoms companies including Vodafone and 02 with a potential deal.