BT is on course to buy out the largest UK mobile network group, EE (Everything Everywhere), in a deal worth around £12.5 billion. If the deal proceeds, a communication giant would be formed within the UK, with British Telecom dominating the fixed-line, internet, mobile and TV markets.
Could the deal mean better deals for British citizens?
EE is currently owned by both Germany’s Deutsche Telekom and France’s Orange.
The breakup could generate new competition for other UK network / communication providers such as Three and Virgin; although this would depend on which route British Telecom was to take if the deal was to proceed. For example, British Telecom brought out successful British broadband provider PlusNet in 2007, however, they decided to keep this company distant and basically totally separate, rather than generalise it with the British Telecom brand.
Could BT rebrand the EE network?
It’s easy to forget that BT once had a mobile network named BT Cellnet, which they rebranded as 02 and then sold. It was actually rumoured that BT were considering to re-buy 02, the company they had sold a number of years ago.
With the uncertainty of Britain and Europe, it makes perfect sense that British Telecom should take the majority of control over the British communications market. It should also be noted that the British government is able to pump investment money more easily in to a British based communications provider, something that they have already being doing.
Isn’t a monopoly dangerous?
The simple answer is yes, however, this depends upon the industry of the monopoly. Having a foreign monopoly of the British communications market should be considered dangerous for a variety of reasons, namely national security. Simply put, would you prefer that the majority of British telecommunications flow through a German, French, or British company?
Better contracts and plans?
Let’s face it, getting loads of minutes and texts is quite easy in today’s world. But how about internet access and tethering? Whilst speculative, wouldn’t it be great to think that BT would bring unlimited 3G / 4G internet and tethering packages to the UK communication market? This is something that EE has refused to do. Currently, the only network provider to other such a package is Three, although they took their mainstream ‘Unlimited’ package away, all thanks to the lack of competition. The idea that you pay a premium for a faster mobile connection, like you currently would with EE, and then it has a minute cap, should be considered insulting for many users.
If the deal goes ahead, then it should be interesting to see exactly what BT might do to transform the shape of the current British communication landscape.