T-Mobile UK parent Deutsche Telekom is seeking an asset swap deal for the mobile phone operator and retailer, as it gears up to pull out of the UK.

Deutsche Telekom is understood to favour the swap for an asset in another country as the “preferred option” to selling the business or merging it with a UK rival.

However, according to sources cited in the Financial Times, this “dream deal” could be complicated by the complexity of dealing with regulators in two countries and the unwillingness of a would-be bidder parting with another asset.

Deutsche Telekom has come under pressure from main shareholders, the German government and Blackstone private equity to divest the underperforming mobile phone business.

Vodafone and Telefonica – which operates as O2 – are considering whether to bid for T-Mobile UK. France Telecom is considering a joint venture between its Orange UK unit and T-Mobile UK.