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BT to re-enter mobile phone market, with 4G

BT to re-enter mobile phone market, with 4G

British Telecom hasn't been involved in the mobile market since selling off BTCellnet in 2004.

British Telecom (BT) has confirmed it is looking to re-enter the mobile phone market in the UK, after securing a portion of the country's 4G spectrum.

Speaking to the Financial Times the company revealed it is “looking for a fresh partnership with a mobile operator" and that it "won some excellent 4G spectrum just recently so it makes sense for [the company] to explore the new opportunities that 4G presents.”

BT used to have a mobile phone network presence but it span this off as a separate entity back in 2002, forming BT Cellnet, which later became O2. Subsequently O2 was sold off to Spanish telecoms company Telefonica, further distancing it from BT.

While it is perfectly possible BT will partner again with O2, it is just as likely it will join with any of the rest of the competition, though given EE is already a merger of Orange and T-Mobile it is an unlikely candidate.

Overall, though, the move is appears a sensible one, as it will allow the company to offer a full spectrum of home and mobile 'broadband' offerings, with potential discount packages when buying both together.

BT acquired its 4G license back in February, along with EE, O2, Three and Vodafone, with of course EE already having secured some spectrum a few months earlier - a move that allowed it to bring 4G services to the UK way back in October 2012. In contrast, the more recently auctioned spectrum is unlikely to be online for several more months, regardless of who BT partners with.

Source: FT (pay wall warning)
Via: Omio

5 Comments

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Harlequin 25th April 2013, 20:09 Quote
wonder if they will tie up with or even buy back 02? telefonica have quite a bit of debt (and are looking at selling landline business in gremany)
Odinster 26th April 2013, 11:35 Quote
Sub-heading on front page reads specturm instead of spectrum :)
Anfield 26th April 2013, 11:38 Quote
doubt it, simply put 4G is extremly profitable in the UK as people here are too stuck up with brand loyalty to switch to the one and only provider who is not going to cripple data with unrealistic limits, so o2 can abuse the UK to subsidize their business elsewhere once they launch 4G.
leexgx 26th April 2013, 23:03 Quote
I thought they only got some 2.6ghz band that be very poor at getting thou walls you be hopping between bt hubs every 200-400meters (assuming that's how they do it)
ccxo 27th April 2013, 20:34 Quote
The spectrum was bought to provide wireless 4G broadband for rural areas, quite odd to see them go for a full mobile service but its another service to offer alongside tv over the BT wholesale network.
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