Feeds

BT Mobile inks network deal with EE, dumps Vodafone

Former state monopolies snuggle together for warmth

Remote control for virtualized desktops

BT Mobile will be switching from Vodafone's network to EE's, pushing aggressively back into the mobile space it departed when it sold off Cellnet in 2002.

There aren't many details available on the move yet, apart from the fact that EE has been selected from a number of various possible suppliers (three, at an informed guess) and that EE will be providing carriage for BT Mobile. Both companies are hoping that existing customers get a "seamless" transition and that they'll be plenty more customers to add.

BT has always been in mobile, in one way or another. In 1986 it launched one of the UK's two mobile networks (the other being Vodafone-Racal) under the Cellnet brand, which got spun off in 2002.

Cellnet was already called O2 by that point, and is now part of Telefonica but had hoped to woo back its former parent, whose split with Vodafone became inevitable once Voda entered the fixed line business with its purchase of Cable & Wireless.

BT has been touting for a new mobile partner ever since, and EE's finally got the gig.

Today BT Mobile is a relatively small operation, mainly sold to corporate and enterprise customers as a bundle with fixed access and other services. That will continue, with EE carrying the traffic. This deal will likely see BT pushing into consumer mobile, as it becomes able to bundle mobile with broadband, TV and fixed telephony in the much-heralded "quad player" model.

EE has been moping up the MVNOs lately thanks to its 4G monopoly and surplus capacity provided by the merger of Orange and T-Mobile. Asda recently switched to EE, and alienated customers by telling them their prepaid credit wouldn't be transferred ("we'd suggest you run down your credit before joining us in the new network" says the FAQ), but BT's relationship with the UK's largest operator goes deeper than that.

The two companies tested spectrum sharing down in Cornwall well before this year's 4G auctions, to see if the same radio spectrum could provide both fixed and mobile coverage at the same time. Those tests showed it was possible - at 800Mhz at least.

In the auctions BT bought 30MHz of FDD spectrum (15MHz in each direction) at 2.6GHz, adjoining the blocks owned by EE, as well as 25MHz of TDD spectrum. Those blocks are expected to provide campus-wide (4G) networks for BT customers, who'll get handed off to the EE network once they wander off site, but there's the potential for much more interesting models too.

It's unlikely the neighbouring ownership was the deciding factor in BT's choice. These things tend to be financial, but it's a happy result which could serve both companies well. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
The total economic impact of Druva inSync
Examining the ROI enterprises may realize by implementing inSync, as they look to improve backup and recovery of endpoint data in a cost-effective manner.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.