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BT & EE CEOs say deal will create a UK digital champion

During the launch of a report by Rob Kenny of Communications Chambers, BT CEO Gavin Patterson and EE CEO Olaf Swantee both backed BT’s proposed acquisition of EE.

Both CEOs agreed the acquisition would create a “true UK digital champion”, with consumers and businesses benefiting from further innovation and integrated services in a highly competitive market.

This independent report, commissioned by BT, identifies five key industry trends that the integrated company will be well placed to address at a time of declining revenues in the industry. These are:

  • Increasing demand for data and speed in fixed and mobile networks
  • Expectations of ubiquitous, seamless and reliable connectivity
  • Pressure on enterprises and the public sector to enhance productivity through digitisation
  • The proliferation of devices and the Internet of Things placing additional demands on critical networks
  • Rapid change and rising uncertainty in the telecoms industry

Kenny says in the report: ‘I conclude the merger has the potential to generate a wide array of customer benefits driven by enhanced investment, innovation, efficiency and competition for converged services. Notwithstanding the merger, the UK would continue to be a well contested market by comparison to its European peers, with some of the most pro-competitive market interventions globally.’

BT and EE have invested £35 billion in the UK over the last decade. As a result, the UK has the highest superfast broadband coverage and take-up in the EU ‘big five’ as well as the fastest European 4G network.

The proposed acquisition remains subject to merger approval from the UK Competition and Markets Authority. BT expects the process and the EE transaction to complete by the end of March 2016.

Patterson said the integrated company, following approval, would have the scale and expertise to deliver the UK’s connected future and help put ‘clear blue water’ between the UK and its international peers. He said other companies operating in the UK would be able to benefit and compete through highly regulated, equal access to Openreach’s network, and wholesale access to the EE mobile network.

Swantee highlighted how the merger between T-Mobile and Orange had unlocked investment and enabled EE to drive 4G forward in the UK. He said: ‘In BT and EE you are bringing together two companies with a similar core belief. Two companies that share a renewed commitment to network leadership, innovation and delivering the best for their customers.’