BT Finalises MVNO Agreement With EE

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 replaces Vodafone as BT MVNO partner, with customers set to benefit from 2G, 3G and 4G

BT has finalised an agreement with EE for the mobile operator to provide Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) services for the former state monopoly’s customers and employees.

BT has ended its nine-year association with Vodafone, when that agreement was effectively nullified by Vodafone’s purchase of Cable and Wireless Worldwide in 2012. EE will provide 2G, 3G and 4G services to BT’s mobile customers, which primarily include large corporates, the public sector and SMBs.

The two companies announced last October that they were going to agree a deal, but it has taken until now for the partnership to made official, and no financial details have been disclosed.

BT EE MVNO agreement

BT Home Smartphone S 2BT announced In April that it was looking for a new mobile partner, and it was assumed that O2 was the front runner for the contract, given that the operator (formerly known as BT Cellnet) had been spun off from BT in 2002, before being later acquired by Telefonica.

It is unclear whether mobile services will be offered to consumers, with BT at this stage only saying it plans to build on its existing Wi-Fi network, but any such move would enable it to offer quad-play packages that are currently only available on Virgin Media.

BT was  a surprise bidder in the Ofcom 4G auction of spectrum last year and it won 2.6GHz bandwidth at a cost of £186.5 million, but its plans for this bandwidth are not fully known.  The 2.6GHz band has limited range, but high capacity, making it ideal for densely populated urban areas, but less useful for a national network.

It is believed that BT’s 4G spectrum is earmarked for use in conjunction with its home broadband and Wi-Fi services to improve indoor coverage.

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