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BT dumps Vodafone for EE as MVNO partner

Hints at return to consumer mobile market
Thu Oct 10 2013, 14:05
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UK MOBILE OPERATOR EE will replace Vodafone as BT's mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) provider.

BT announced the change on Thursday, revealing that it kicked partner Vodafone to the curb after nine years to start a relationship with EE. While this sounds like a TV soap opera story line, the deal will see EE providing BT with mobile services that will be used by its corporate customers and its 88,000 strong workforce.

BT said in a statement on Thursday, "BT and EE have signed an agreement to proceed, on an exclusive basis, to a contract for EE to provide mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) services to BT's customers and employees.

"The multi-year agreement, subject to final contract, further strengthens the existing relationship in telecommunications between BT and EE."

BT went on to say that the deal covers both 3G and 4G services, which means that the telecoms firm will be able to make use of EE's high-speed LTE connectivity.

While this hints that BT could be plotting to return the consumer mobile market, as does the firm's recent move to pick up 2.6GHz spectrum in the 4G auction earlier this year, the firm declined to comment on whether it is planning to challenge Giffgaff and Tesco Mobile. Instead, BT said vaguely that it "evaluates new service opportunities in new markets".

The firm did say however that it is looking to build on its public WiFi service, so expect to be connected to even more unwanted hotspot connections while out and about.

According to BT, the deal will likely be completed at the start of 2014. However, the migration process could take up to two years. 

Vodafone was available for comment at the time of publication. µ


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