UK fixed line incumbent BT has completed a deal under which it will move its mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) services from the network of Vodafone UK to that owned by wireless market leader EE. According to a press release by BT, the multi-year agreement, which will allow BT mobile customers to use EE’s 2G, 3G and 4G networks, further strengthens the existing relationship between the two companies, and the development follows reports in October 2013 which revealed that the duo were planning to partner up in this fashion, subject to a final contract. In the wake of confirming the deal, BT has said that it will ‘carefully manage the change from its current UK MVNO provider to EE to ensure a seamless transition for customers’.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in April 2013 BT was said to have started looking for a partner to help support a renewed push into the mobile voice sector. At that date reports claimed the telco had issued a tender seeking an operator to provide mobile services to both its residential and business customers. While the tender was understood to have been opened to all of the UK’s mobile network operators, it had in fact been suggested that a deal with O2 UK, the mobile unit divested by BT back in 2001, could be favoured. Commenting on the development, BT was cited as saying at the time: ‘We can confirm we are looking for a fresh partnership with a mobile operator. We won some excellent 4G spectrum just recently so it makes sense for us to explore the new opportunities that 4G presents. We have a strong position in the Wi-Fi market and we are looking to build on that.’