BT expected to launch 4G MVNO this week


Reports suggest broadband provider will still launch MVNO despite agreement to buy EE for £12.5 billion

BT will launch its own 4G network later this week, marking its return to the consumer mobile space 15 years after it sold O2.

The new service, called BT Mobile, will run on EE’s network as part of a deal agreed last year and will be announced by midweek, according to reports from the Telegraph.

The broadband agreed terms for a £12.5 billion takeover of the UK’d largest mobile operator EE last month but is awaiting regulatory approval, with the takeover not expected to complete until next year.

In the meantime, BT will press ahead with its original plans to re-enter the mobile space as an MVNO, with the service initially being offered to its 7.6 million broadband subscribers.

Reports suggest that BT’s offer will undercut existing 4G packages being offered by EE, O2 and Vodafone but will not be as low as the cheapest deals offered by Three and Giffgaff.

The reports also suggest that BT will offer its mobile services on a SIM-only basis, refraining from selling handsets while until the EE deal has been approved.

In July, BT launched One Phone, an integrated cloud-based office and mobile solution that routes all calls to an employees mobile no matter what line the original call was made to.

At the launch at BT Tower, BT executives said it expected to launch its consumer mobile operator the following month but no announcement followed.

Reports in October said the mobile offering had been hit with delays due to problems implementing a switch from Wifi calling to 4G.

BT will use EE’s network for the mobile offering, along with its own 4G spectrum which it purchased for £186 million at the 2013 spectrum auction.

It last ran a mobile network (O2) in 2001, but span off the operator and ultimately sold it to Telefonica in 2005 for £18 billion.