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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

CONVERGENCE: BT to buy EE for quadplay offer

BT once owned mobile network O2, and made the historically catastrophic decision to spin it off and cash in. They're now set to correct that epic mistake and buy EE for £12.5bn, subject to OfCom approval - Vodafone, Virgin and others are likely to energetically oppose this.
The thinking is that while mobile operators profits have been falling, partly due to EU rulings limiting their rates, customers want to carry their broadband capacity out of the home and EE's advanced 4G network will give them a major advantage over all UK rivals on this.
Triple play has been the buzzword for a long time - offering landline, broadband and TV in one package, but now quadplay, very common across the EU, is the new corporate and strategic buzzword - adding mobile to this mix.

The telecoms industry may be heralding it as the next big trend, but so far, quadplay has left most consumers cold. Many have never heard of the concept, let alone expressed a desire to experience it.
So what is quadplay, and why should we want it? The term may sound a bit like a sport invented by Oxford undergraduates in their halls of residence, but it is in fact a reference to the four telecoms services households will increasingly be able to buy from the same company – home phone, mobile, internet and telly.
On the continent, particularly in Spain, buying all these services together has been popular with cost-conscious households. In the UK, Virgin Media has been trying for years, with limited success. Its virtual network – Virgin owns no masts but rents airtime from a network - is losing customers. There are still 3m subscribers, but many of them don’t take cable. Only 16% of Virgin’s near 5m subscribers have opted for quadplay.
TalkTalk, which has offered a virtual network since 2011, has been a little more successful with its typically bargain hunting customers. It has been adding mobile subscribers every quarter, and 350,000 of its 4.2m homes now bundle in a SIM card with their broadband access.
Quadplay may take off first among those who wish to watch the pennies.
But BT would not just be offering savings – it would own the two best telecommunications networks in the UK. Its broadband service may not be as consistently fast as Virgin cable, but it reaches many more homes. And EE’s mobile internet service is faster than rivals, with greater geographical coverage. Bundled with a potentially larger slice of the premier league football rights now owned by Sky, BT’s offer could see quadplay become a national pastime.
From Guardian report on BT's bid.

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