EE, the UK’s largest mobile network operator by subscribers, has inked an agreement with local fixed line incumbent BT under which it will exclusively provide mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) services for the latter. In what it has referred to as a ‘multi-year agreement’, subject to final contract, EE claims the development will further strengthen the existing relationship between the two operators. In the wake of the announcement BT has, meanwhile, said it will carefully manage the change from its current MVNO partner, Vodafone UK, to EE, ‘to ensure a seamless transition for customers’.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in April 2013 BT was said to have started looking for a partner to help support a renewed push into the mobile voice sector. At that date it was suggested that the telco had issued a tender seeking an operator to provide mobile services to both its residential and business customers. While the tender was said to have been opened to all of the UK’s mobile network operators, it had in fact been suggested that a deal with O2 UK, the mobile unit actually divested by BT back in 2001, could be favoured. Commenting on the development, BT was cited as saying at the time: ‘We can confirm we are looking for a fresh partnership with a mobile operator. We won some excellent 4G spectrum just recently so it makes sense for us to explore the new opportunities that 4G presents. We have a strong position in the Wi-Fi market and we are looking to build on that.’