BT refutes claims of delays to MVNO plans

8 Oct 2014

British fixed line incumbent BT has reportedly denied suggestions that its return to the mobile voice market could be delayed amid technical difficulties, according to Computer Weekly. Following claims that the operator was struggling with handover issues between Wi-Fi and 4G networks, a situation which it was said could push the launch of BT’s mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service to spring 2015, a BT spokesperson was cited as saying: ‘We have always been very clear that it will take the best part of two years to develop our consumer femtocell service, and this remains the case.’

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, with BT aiming to undercut the nation’s incumbent cellcos on price, the technology allowing handovers between Wi-Fi and 4G is critical for the telco as it would enable it to keep the cost of providing its wireless voice service low by carrying the bulk of traffic on its infrastructure rather than via EE’s mobile network; BT has a deal to rent capacity from EE to help fill in coverage gaps between its 5.4 million Wi-Fi hotpots. According to the earlier claims, however, an unnamed source had said of the rumoured technology troubles: ‘The handover is absolutely essential for BT to do what it wants to do with mobile. It’s possible the launch will slip into the second quarter of next year now.’

United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach)