Upheaval in the UK mobile service provider world has been rife recently, with big names purchasing smaller networks such as O2’s recent purchase by Three owner Hutchinson Whampoa , as well as phone shops on the high street going out of business, such as Phones4U late last year.
Now, in a bid to take on the Hutchinson empire, massive UK phone and internet provider BT has made its own bid for O2 rival EE with a whopping £12.5 billion on the table in exchange for one of the UK’s biggest mobile phone networks. The announcement came following months of rumor and announcements of buyouts.
Combined with BT’s internet, tv and phone services, the EE purchase means an all inclusive ‘quad play’ package will become available through BT. The much desired package allows EE customers to get broadband, fixed landline and TV services through BT for a single subscription fee.
It’s not the first we’ve heard of the deal of course, back in November the first rumors of a BT deal for either EE or O2 came out, and then in December BT confirmed that talks were underway with EE about a potential buyout. It appears that BT were not up for buying back O2, who were of course once known as BT Cellnet, a BT mobile network that spun off the company as a private venture in 2005.
“This is a major milestone for BT as it will allow us to accelerate our mobility plans and increase our investment in them. The UK’s leading 4G network will now dovetail with the UK’s biggest fibre network, helping to create the leading converged communications provider in the UK.”
– Gavin Patterson, BT Chief Executive
The state of things following the purchases of EE and O2 will be a bit different to what we’re used to. For one, there will only be three major mobile phone networks operating in the UK. O2 will disappear, being absorbed into the ranks of Hutchinson Whampoa’s network Three. Meanwhile, EE and Vodafone will hold out, although the future of EE will be uncertain.
Throughout these interesting times in the UK mobile world, Vodafone has remained mostly free from in any deals or purchase rumors. Maneuvering in the high street involving the network did leave store chain Phones4U high and dry, but other than that Vodafone has remained as is. The network’s status as the biggest UK network has however been usurped by Three as O2 customers joined their ranks.
We’ll keep tabs on EE’s activities and what deals will come from them and BT, as well as if anything changes within the company or the branding of the network. Stay tuned for updates.