BT Signals Intent To Adopt EE Brand For UK Consumers

Former UK telecoms incumbent BT Group has announced another rebranding exercise, with the intention to use its EE brand name as its principle identifier for the UK consumer market.

BT Consumer’s CEO, Marc Allera, quietly announced the intention to utilise the EE brand on Wednesday, as part of its “new chapter” in the group’s “transformation.”

BT of course acquired the UK largest mobile operator EE (formerly Everything, Everywhere) in January 2016, uniting the UK’s biggest fixed line and mobile providers.

What’s in a name?

That acquisition was important for BT, as the telecoms giant had been without a mobile operation over 15 years, after it sold off BT Cellnet (later to become O2) in November 2001 in order to reduce its debt burden at the time.

But unfortunately that move left the British operator without a mobile operation to act as growth engine for the best part of 15 years.

BT itself last underwent a significant rebranding in 2017, after it agreed in 2016 to make Openreach a legally separate entity complete with its own CEO, budget, staff and brand, to appease Ofcom and ensure that the open access network division would not have to be sold off.

But the telecoms group has of course undergone other rebranding exercises in previous decades.

It should be remembered that the British Telecom brand was first introduced in 1980, when it became independent of the Post Office in 1981.

In 1984 it was incorporated into British Telecommunications, and in 1991 it changed its trading name to BT.

The origins (via the General Post Office or GPO) of BT can be traced all the way back to 1846 with the founding of the Electric Telegraph Company, the world’s first public telegraph company.

EE brand

But now it seems that BT after thirty years is intending to rebrand its consumer-facing brand under the EE name, for both UK consumers and the enterprise market it seems.

“Today is an important day as we begin a new chapter in our transformation,” wrote Marc Allera. “We take great pride in our history and unique role in connecting people. From the very first phone calls with BT, to EE launching the UK’s first 4G and 5G networks in the UK – we have been at the heart of the UK’s communication and technology industry as well as creating some of the country’s most iconic brands.”

It seems the BT brand will not be retired but according to Allera the “BT brand will still play an important but more focused role for Consumer customers on standalone broadband and landline services.”

Allera noted that having both BT and EE in an already crowded consumer market means the group had to have two of everything, and that made “life harder for our customers and our people – two accounts, two apps, two product roadmaps, and multiple systems. You get the picture. We need to simplify things, for everyone.”

“This is where our new chapter begins,” wrote Allera. “From today, we’re starting the preparations to make the EE brand our flagship brand for Consumer customers focusing on convergence and future services.”

“While retaining much of the identity that is instantly recognisable to millions today, the new EE will evolve and stretch into new areas and be focused on convergence of networks, devices and new services beyond connectivity,” he wrote.

Why EE? Well according to Allera, its customers told the firm that EE “is synonymous with the best mobile connectivity and its popularity in the broadband market is growing steadily as we’ve driven awareness that EE’s fibre network is powered by BT.”

There is no definite timeframe, although Allera said “we will share more about our launch plans later this year,”

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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