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BT returns to mobile market with handset offer


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BT has returned to the British consumer mobile market with low-cost offers for existing broadband customers in its first move towards offering bundles of telecoms services.

The British telecoms group on Wednesday confirmed plans for a first step into consumer mobile ahead of its £12.5bn acquisition of EE, the UK’s largest mobile group. Regulatory clearance for the deal is expected towards the end of the year.

BT said that the consumer mobile strategy “will develop over the coming years”.

The sim-only 4G mobile services are pitched at existing BT broadband households, which will be offered a £5 a month discount. The entry-level 500mb tariff is claimed by BT to be the cheapest on the market.

BT is only selling four handsets, with no option for Apple’s popular iPhone. John Petter, chief executive of BT consumer, indicated that the range could be expanded in future to also include tablet computers.

BT will sell the mobile tariffs online until it has acquired EE, which has close to 600 stores on high streets across the UK. Mr Petter said that the stores would be a “good opportunity” to sell BT’s full range of consumer services from mobile and broadband to TV.

Mobile subscribers will be given unlimited access to BT’s WiFi network, as well as free BT Sport through its smartphone app even without a broadband contract.

Paolo Pescatore, analyst at CCS Insight, described BT’s offers as “more aggressive than many anticipated” and “underline BT’s aspirations in the multiplay services market”.

“Rivals should be threatened by this move and Sky in particular will need to react given how punchy BT’s sim-only deals are,” he added. “With this in mind, Sky may need to launch mobile a lot sooner”


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