BT takes first step towards becoming a unified mobile operator with EE

BT has taken the first step towards creating a unified service with EE, as it looks to provide a 4G service that will run on EE’s network, branded ‘BT Mobile’.

As the telecoms company looks to close its deal to buy EE for £12.5bn, BT has confirmed today (25 March) that it will offer bundles of 4G data, minutes and texts, mainly aimed at existing BT broadband consumers who can use the service for up to £5 per month.

The service will be dispensed through a SIM only plan, where customers can keep their existing phone but upgrade their network for more data and extensive wi-fi coverage.

John Petter, chief executive of BT consumer, says: “Offering BT customers the UK’s best value 4G data deal is a great way to start our journey towards re-establishing ourselves as a major player in consumer mobile.”

The move sees the brand’s first step into the consumer mobile market, as it looks to create a quad-play service for consumers.

Paolo Pescatore, director of multi-play and media for CCS Insight told Marketing Week that the new move hints at what is to come for the EE brand: “This is a real telling sign for what we can expect for the future of the BT and EE branding.”

Pescatore told Marketing Week that BT’s past branding initiatives such as BT TV and BT Sport have underperformed, but the move to acquire EE is “a different ball game”.

“EE has gone through different faces over the years changing from Orange to T-Mobile and now with 4G to EE, they are accustomed to it but perhaps it is something that will be addressed for the medium-to long-term.”

Pescatore told Marketing Week that with TalkTalk, Virgin Media offering bundled services and Vodafone planning to later in the year, the move is increasingly important to keep up with competition, with those not in the race facing a concerning future.

Research by CCS Insight has shown that the UK is poised for huge growth in the take-up of bundled telecom services. The research body predicts that 8 in 10 UK households will sign up to multiplay services by 2019.

BT looked to resume its place in the consumer mobile market after 13 years when it confirmed an exclusive agreement with EE in December 2014. The brand confirmed last month that it would keep the brand for the “short term”.

The Competition and Markets Authority is currently in the process of determining whether the acquisition should take place as it could reduce competitiveness in the industry, with BT owning 70% of the share of the whole broadband market.