Skip to main content

BT and EE deal could be a long time coming to fruition

As you’re doubtless aware, BT is making a planned acquisition of mobile network EE for the princely sum of £12.5 billion – though the move is subject to all the usual regulatory approval processes.

And it seems that this red tape may tie up the acquisition and prevent it from happening for some time yet, at least according to the CEO of EE, Olaf Swantee.

Swantee was being interviewed on Radio 4 earlier this morning, Expert Reviews reports, and he said that BT and EE both hoped that they could get the competition watchdogs to approve the deal by the “end of the year”. In other words, the move might not happen for another eight months or so – and bear in mind they’re hopeful about that timeframe, not definite.

There are obvious concerns regarding the takeover of the UK’s biggest mobile network by the already giant telecoms firm BT, so we can expect plenty of scrutiny of the effect of this on the market (and plenty of input from rival UK mobile networks, doubtless).

BT, however, recently produced a lengthy document for shareholders which went over the positive points (and possible difficulties) of the takeover, and the company claimed that the move would actually be a good thing for mobile contract prices in the UK, which would drop as a result (with BT able to push out more competitive quad-play offerings, too).

With its latest financial results for Q1 2015, EE said it has boosted its 4G subscriber base up to 9.3 million customers, and it expects to reach 14 million by the close of 2015. 96 per cent of new connections with EE are apparently 4G contracts, with 50 per cent on the faster 4GEE Extra.

Neal Milsom, CFO of EE, said of the company’s current fiscal picture: “We are delivering strong, consistent commercial performance by giving our customers the best mobile voice and data network experience in the UK. As much of the UK market now has smartphones, we are leading the charge into new growth areas by cross-selling our innovative range of connected products including 4G tablets, 4G Wi-Fi, fixed broadband and EETV to our existing customers.”

All this, of course, will be BT’s eventually… should regulators not get cold feet as the year progresses, of course.