Rumours suggest that BT will launch 4G mobile services under its own brand this week.
The move would represent the media giant’s first foray into the consumer market since it spun off its 02 mobile division in 2002.
The Financial Times reported on Saturday that existing BT customers currently leasing fixed line broadband, telephone and TV packages will be offered additional low cost mobile phone services. The telco is particularly keen to cement an early stake in the quad play market and boost the attraction of bundled packages widely perceived as crucial to its ongoing battle for subscribers with Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media.
Add-on mobile services from TalkTalk and others are available for as little as £5 per month, for example, and represent an important boost to revenue pared down by intense competition for fixed broadband subscribers. Sky is set to launch its own mobile network in 2016 using Telefonica owned 02’s network in 2016, whilst TalkTalk and Virgin Media have mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) deals with 02 and EE respectively.
BT refused to confirm or deny the timing of the launch, telling Mobile only that it was ‘very much on track to launch consumer mobile services this financial year’.
It is thought that the new service – expected to be dubbed BT Mobile – will piggyback on network infrastructure belonging to its proposed £12.5bn acquisition partner EE under the terms of a wholesale agreement signed in 2014.
BT already offers mobile voice services to its business customers under its Global Services brand. Launched in July 2014, BT One Phone is based on a converged mobile and landline platform that allows users to jump between 4G and WiFi networks via 4G picocells installed in offices that route calls across fixed line broadband networks, switching to EE’s wholesale network when outdoors and out of range.