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BT makes mobile return with 4G deals using EE network

Wednesday, March 25th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

BT has re-entered the mobile market with a range of 4G contracts using EE’s network.

BT Mobile is offering a range of SIM-only plans and will also sell a number of 4G smartphones.

The best plans are being saved for existing BT broadband customers, with discounts of up to 50% compared to non-BT broadband customers.

It is the firm’s first involvement in the mobile industry for 10 years since it sold O2 to Telefonica and is, according to a statement, "the first step in BT’s consumer mobile strategy".

BT said it has built features into all tariffs including the ability to cap monthly spend to avoid bill shock, the freedom to move between plans without taking out a new contract, and parental controls.

John Petter, CEO of BT Consumer, said: “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.

“These great value deals are a thank you from us to loyal BT broadband homes.”

Mr Petter said the new mobile deals offered customers more than just data, minutes and text.

“We are offering 4G on the UK’s biggest network along with unlimited access to the most extensive wi-fi coverage via our five million BT wi-fi hotspot network.

“Our customers are consuming increasing amounts of data and they want the best possible connection wherever they are. It’s our ambition to meet this demand by combining the power of our fixed fibre service with wi-fi and the convenience of mobile.”

BT agreed a deal to use EE’s mobile network – currently the UK’s largest – in October 2013 before going on to buy the operator for £12.5bn earlier this year.

BT says it will “reveal more details after the deal completes about what customers will be offered”.

'Undue market power'

Cable.co.uk reported back in December that the move was raising fears of “undue market power” and would be closely scrutinised by Ofcom.

The telecoms regulator has since launched its first review of the UK’s digital sector in more than a decade, while fibre infrastructure provider CityFibre, a rival of BT, has lodged a complaint with the Competition and Markets Authority about the EE takeover.

The launch of BT Mobile comes as Three’s parent company Hutchison Whampoa confirmed it had agreed a £9.25bn deal to buy O2.

Hutchison’s group managing director Canning Fok described the deal as a “major milestone” that would be good news for consumers.

“Completion of the transaction is expected in 2016 as it is of course subject to conditions, including most importantly, satisfactory approvals from competition regulators.

“The combination of Three UK and O2 UK will create a business with unmatched scale and strength that will allow us to better compete against other operators in the marketplace and will also enable us to provide even better service and innovation to UK customers in a market that will remain fully competitive.”

Three CEO David Dyson said: “Three’s leadership in mobile data together with O2’s strength on network coverage is a great combination that will bring very real benefits to businesses and consumers throughout the UK.

“The highly complementary network assets will deliver market leading coverage and capacity for talk, text and data and will be well placed to satisfy rapidly growing demand.”

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