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Tuesday, 12 November

Return of the Mobile Native

This week saw the announcement by BT that it aims to acquire EE and become a mobile provider again 10 years after it sold its stake in the Cellnet brand.

The decision by BT to dip back into the mobile phone service provider sector has been greeted by some nodding heads and cries of foul by potential competitors.

The announcement was made official after months of speculation about the move when BT confirmed intent at the beginning of February 2015 that it would make an offer of £12.5 billion. The management won approval from shareholders but will have to get clearance from the Competition and Markets Authority. If all goes to plan, BT is expected to complete the deal before the end of the financial year ending in March 2016.

BT believes that by combining EE's 4G network and 24.5 million direct mobile customers with its superfast broadband network, it would have greater scope for future investment and product innovation. The group plans to sell a full range of its services to the combined customer base, including BT offering broadband, fixed line and pay-TV services to those EE customers who do not currently take a service from it.

“This is a major milestone for BT as it will allow us to accelerate our mobility plans and increase our investment in them," stated Gavin Patterson , CEO, BT.

Mr Patterson argued that the deal did not reduce the number of mobile networks available in the UK and was consistent with telecoms firms in Europe which also had both fixed and mobile operations. However, it is known that Hutchison Whampoa, owner of rival Three, has been in talks to buy O2.

Picture: BT’s decision to buy EE will shake up the market and has already caused criticism from rival mobile network operators such as Three.

Article written by Mike Gannon

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