BT could well return back to mobile phones by the end of the year according to Ian Livingston, the CEO of the telecommunications giant. Livingston told the Telegraph that it was "highly possible" that BT-branded SIM cards could make their way into customers' smartphones within 12-months with an integrated, unified billing service.
The service would be available to the millions of existing BT customers and could be seen as a way of reducing customer churn even further (especially if, as Virgin Media, BT offers free calls to BT mobile phones). The move would be an interesting one, making of BT, potentially the biggest mobile virtual network operator in the world.
Livingston said that mobile operators have been invited to submit proposals to form a 4G partnership and confirmed that the company's Wi-Fi router (both public and private) would be pivotal into pushing 4G penetration further. "We can build effectively an internal, very cheap 4G network", BT's CEO told the Telegraph.
O2 appears to be the de facto favourite to become BT's partner, which doesn't come as a surprise given the existing legacy between the two. BT's mobile arm, Cellnet, was spun out as O2 back in 2002 and the latter was acquired by Telefonica three years later.