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BT To Integrate EE Into Consumer Unit As BT Italy Payouts Hit Profits

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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EE CEO Marc Allera to head up expanded consumer unit as challenging business markets and BT Italy fallout hit profits

BT is to integrate EE into its Consumer business, a year after it acquired the mobile operator for £12.5 billion.

The new division will be headed up by EE CEO Marc Allera, who succeeded Olaf Swantee following the BT takeover, as BT looks to target customers with more integrated products.

Indeed, it has previously spoken of its desire to offer converged hybrid-fixed broadband services to both businesses and consumers in the future.

“This appointment reflects the growing scale and ambition of BT,” declared BT CEO Gavin Patterson, who also confirmed the departure of the long-serving John Petter.

“Marc has led the successful integration and delivered the improved customer experience and strong financial performance of EE. He will lead our continued integration and convergence in consumer telecommunications.

ee-ceo-marc-allera

BT EE integration

“Together, our senior management team will ensure that BT realises its full potential: connecting customers in the UK and beyond to next-generation digital communications services, content and networks.”

Separately, Cathryn Ross, the CEO of water industry regulator Ofwat will join as Director of Regulatory Affairs in January 2018 as BT continues to wrangle with Ofcom.

During the first quarter of 2017, BT added 210,000 mobile subscribers, taking its total number to 29.8 million. EE’s 4G network now covers 83 percent of the UK’s landmass as BT works towards delivering its target of 95 percent coverage.

There were also gains in fixed too. Openreach added 437,000 fibre users, meaning there are now 8.1 million total superfast broadband subscribers from all providers. BT itself added 170,000 of those and now has 5.1 million fibre users.

It also now has 100,000 ultrafast broadband customers, connected via either G.Fast, which speeds up copper connections, or fibre to the premise (FTTP).  Openreach has connected 550,000 premises to ultrafast so far and plans to have reached 12 million by the end of the decade.

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BT’s consumer and EE units were responsible for the majority of growth at BT, where revenues increased by one percent to £5.8 billion over the past three months. Challenging conditions in the public sector and International corporate sectors affected results in the business and BT Global Services (BTGS) units while a payout to Orange and Deutsche Telekom impacted pre-tax profits.

Both companies acquired a stake in BT following their sale of EE but a writedown at BT in Italy following an accounting scandal meant BT was keen to avoid legal action. Pre-tax profits slumped by 42 percent to £418 million thanks to the transaction and other ‘one time’ charges.

“BT has delivered an encouraging performance in the first quarter of the year,” added Patterson. “We’ve made good progress in our key areas of strategic focus: deliver great customer experience, invest for growth, and transform our costs. In particular, I’d highlight the growth achieved by our consumer facing businesses, helped by mobile.

“BT, with Openreach, is well placed to support the roll out of FTTP in the UK, and we’re consulting with Ofcom, Government and other communications providers to build the investment case to achieve this outcome. “

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