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BT’s acquisition of EE to boost UK consumer mobile plans

London - 5 February 2015

Telecoms group BT has bought the mobile operator EE for £12.5 billion. Peter Briggs, senior analyst at Current Analysis, comments on the implications of this acquisition for the operator's UK consumer plans.

Peter Briggs, Senior Analyst Consumer Services, Europe at Current Analysis, says:

"BT’s ‘build or buy’ studies and due diligence are over. The UK incumbent’s proposed GBP 12.5 billion acquisition of current mobile market leader EE, alongside its own lead in fixed residential services, will transform BT into a consumer quad-play provider able to focus on its TV challenger role."

"If approved and when completed, likely between Q3 2015 and Q1 2016, BT will bring the mobile network in-house, enhancing the operator’s initial return to consumer mobility based on an EE MVNO, augmented by small-cell LTE and WiFi. Ownership and control of a combined fixed and mobile network should then allow BT to develop more seamless and innovative data connectivity services for consumers, wherever they are."

"On completion, the acquisition will produce a very significant short-term consumer market impact by providing BT with a well-established 4G mobile network and customer base, alongside further opportunities for service integration and synergies that EE would have struggled to achieve alone."

"Both BT and EE consumer customers can expect a flurry of bundling, discounting and sharing deals to identify, retain and grow those BT/EE ‘customer households’. Rather than simplifying choice in the months ahead, UK consumers can expect a proliferation of quad-play offers."

"The two existing quad-play providers Virgin Media and TalkTalk will be joined by new players Sky (based on MVNO support from Telefónica) and Vodafone, as well as an invigorated mobile specialist formed by the possible Hutchison / Telefónica merger of Three UK and O2 UK, now the topic of ongoing exclusive discussions."

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BT acquired EE for £12.5 billion.

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