BT moves step nearer to Cellnet takeover

BT has moved closer to its anticipated takeover of Cellnet by giving control of service provision for more than 1 million BT Mobile and Securicor Cellular Services domestic users to the mobile operator.

The change for the 1.5 million consumers, including smaller business users, will occur over the next year. Cellnet says the customers will benefit from the change and will be informed on their next bill.

A Cellnet spokesman says: “Cellnet is already the network provider for these customers, so it makes sense that we should be the service provider as well. We will be able to get closer to them and develop new products and services accordingly.”

Cellnet is 60 per cent owned by BT and 40 per cent owned by Securicor Cellular Services. Under competition rules, BT is not currently allowed to buy Cellnet outright, although this is expected to change next year.

The telephone watchdog Oftel was unavailable for comment on the licensing implications of the story as Marketing Week went to press.

BT Mobile managing director Hugh Logan will move over to be director of the new Cellnet division created to handle these domestic and smaller-business users – called Service Provision.

But Cellnet keeps control of its own corporate customers. Likewise BT will continue to be the service provider for its larger corporate mobile customers. However, responsibility for BT Mobile will pass from the business to the personal communications division of BT.

Because of the changes BT Mobile has scrapped its 5m direct marketing agency pitch.

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