BT set to launch 4G arm

23 March 2015 |


BT is set to launch its 4G network this week, marking its return to the consumer market nearly 15 years after it sold its mobile unit.

The service, called BT Mobile, is based on a wholesale rental agreement to use EE’s network which was signed before BT announced its plans to acquire EE for £12.5 billion.

BT Mobile will initially be offered exclusively to the company’s 7.6 million broadband subscribers. The company is expected to offer packages on a SIM-only basis.

Following the completion of the takeover – expected to be finalised by the year-end – it will then acquire EE’s handset business. 

Rivals of BT such as Sky and TalkTalk have complained that the incumbent’s takeover of EE will hinder competition in the market. CityFibre is the latest company to file a complaint to the Competition and Markets Authority, calling for BT to be split from its infrastructure arm, Openreach. 

CityFibre, which is working with TalkTalk and Sky to build an ultra-fast network in York, said the acquisition will be “anti-competitive” and undermine the government’s ambition to roll out ultra-fast broadband.

Last November CityFibre signed a deal with MBNL, a joint venture between EE and Three. However, the deal has been “effectively neutered” by BT’s acquisition of EE, according to Greg Mesch, CityFibre’s CEO. 

"The UK was going to benefit from this deal, anchoring fibre roll-out and competitive infrastructure. We've said that we think the deal is anti-competitive."