BT has agreed to definitive terms to buy mobile operator EE from existing owners Orange and Deutsche Telekom for £12.5 billion (€16.7 billion/$19 billion), bringing to an end the first phase of a process that is set to turn the former UK incumbent into the market's biggest converged provider of fixed and mobile telecoms services.
TalkTalk was quick to praise the success of its new quad-play strategy after reporting year-on-year revenue growth of 4.2 per cent in its financial third quarter (calendar Q4), but the UK-based operator also indicated that the cost of acquiring new subscribers for combinations of its mobile, broadband and TV products would hit earnings in the full year.
Quad-play or multi-play strategies got another airing this week, as one operator hailed its success in bundling fixed, mobile and TV services together and another raised doubts again over the appetite that consumers are likely to have for such service bundles.
BT has laid out an ambitious plan to bring broadband speeds of up to 500 Mbps to the majority of the United Kingdom within 10 years by using G.Fast, a technology that can provide fiber-like speeds over short copper loops.
BSkyB became the latest provider of TV and fixed broadband services to throw its hat into the mobile ring in what is regarded as a largely defensive move, after the satellite company signed a wholesale agreement to use the network of Telefónica (O2) UK.
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If BT succeeds in its bid to acquire EE, one thing it won't be doing is bringing the Orange and T-Mobile brands back to life in the UK: according to the Financial Times, BT has no interest in rekindling the two former brands as it intends to focus on driving 4G data services, for which EE is of course famous.
The Spice Girls may have waxed lyrical about two becoming one, but in Europe's mobile market many operators would be happy if four just became three. Indeed, the buzz around consolidation refuses to die down as we move further into 2015, and operators continue to believe that consolidation is necessary for their future survival.
Telefónica may have been offered a lifeline regarding its UK mobile operation by rival Three UK's parent company Hutchison Whampoa, as the Hong Kong-based company seeks to expand its European business.
TalkTalk has set a goal to offer 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) services to 50-60 percent of UK homes and business premises via its partnership with CityFibre and Sky, a move that will enable it to lessen its dependency on BT's Openreach last mile network.