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BT and EE to launch the UK’s first converged smart network

Thursday, May 17th 2018 by Oprah Flash

In a bid to stake its claim as the UK’s top telecoms provider, BT and EE are to launch the UK’s first converged smart network.

As part of its new ‘Best Connected’ plan, BT has promised to improve connectivity across the UK by bringing together the might of its broadband and wi-fi with EE’s powerful mobile networks.

EE has been a part of the BT Group since a takeover £12.5bn takeover in 2016 and in a recent reshuffle of BT's businesses is now included in 'BT Consumer' along with Plusnet and the main BT brand.

Marc Allera, CEO of BT Consumer, said: “BT runs the UK’s most advanced mobile and broadband networks, but our customers demand better connections, and the best service no matter where they are.

“We’re investing across BT, EE and Plusnet so that we can provide our customers with the widest choice of products and services, on the best networks, and with the best service in the UK.”

Seamless connections

Three years ago we told you about BT and EE’s plan to deliver seamless broadband and mobile connections. Fast forward to 2018, we are finally seeing these plans put into action.

BT yesterday unveiled a vast amount of changes coming to the service. The one that you may notice first is the introduction of BT Plus and the Keep Connected Promise. BT Plus brings your broadband, landline, mobile and pay-TV all into one contract.

To promote the new product, BT is returning to the high street and will pop up in more than 620 EE stores across the UK.

BT will pop up in more than 600 EE stores across the UK

While it may be easier, we doubt it will be a good value for money. We do not yet know how much it will cost but it is estimated to be in the region of £55 and £75 a month.

Matthew Howett, an industry analyst at Assembly Research, agrees that this new package will be tough on your wallet. He said: “The group is keen to focus on attracting higher spending customers. While pricing of Plus plans has not been released, it is without doubt a premium offering.”

Under BT’s Keep Connected Promise, the provider will give you unlimited data on your BT Mobile plan and will send a 4G wi-fi Mini Hub if you ever have a fault with your broadband.

Mr Allera, announcing a raft of new initiatives yesterday, also promised that by 2020, 100% of customer calls will be handled by call centres solely in the UK and Ireland.

Hybrid Broadband

EE's version of converged broadband will take the form of something called "Hybrid Broadband Technology". Your home broadband will be boosted by EE's 4G network, providing a more consistent and reliable connection even in peak times as each technology will serve as a back-up for the other.

EE has been busy, as it has also partnered with Hive and Nest to become the first UK network to support all major smart home devices. This is great news for those of you that use smart thermostats, sensors and lighting around your home. Google Home, Apple Homekit and Alexa smart home devices will also be supported. You can start buying the tech from EE from 1 June.

Mr Allera said: “We’re beginning our journey to create one converged, smart network built on our world-leading fixed and mobile networks – going beyond 4G, 5G, wi-fi and ultrafast broadband to seamlessly connect our customers wherever they are to the things that matter most to them.”

By the end of 2022, BT Consumer plans to make broadband speeds of 314Mbps available to more than a million homes, as well as increase EE's 4G coverage to 99%. There is also talk of boosting the power of BT’s public wi-fi hotspots.

Amazon Prime Video on BT TV

It was big news when Sky signed a deal with Netflix to add the streaming app to Sky Q but BT has taken it that step further and added Amazon Prime Video to its service.

While this is all good news, it doesn’t detract from the fact that the telecoms giant confirmed last week that13,000 members of staff will lose their job.

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