BT overhauls consumer business with bid to combine mobile and broadband

BT Centre in Newgate Street London. Image credit Vismedia

Marc Allera, chief executive of EE, was anointed CEO of the BT Consumer business previous year, that brought together EE with the existing consumer division to create the £10bn integrated mobile, broadband and pay-TV outfit. EE Hybrid Broadband will use multipath transmission control protocol (TCP) technology to bond both BT's fixed broadband network and EE's 4G network in a single box.

BT is launching BT Plus, bringing together home broadband, mobile and Wi-Fi capabilities into one converged plan, with one simple bill. The UK's first truly hybrid home broadband combines a superfast broadband network with a 4G network to give customers consistent and reliably fast broadband speeds, even in areas with traditionally slow broadband speeds or at peak times. "We've already brought our teams together, now we're going to bring our networks together".

United Kingdom operator group BT has unveiled a bunch of initiatives for its consumer business unit, focusing on a new "BT Plus" converged plan.

The bonded network technology is just one element of a much wider strategic realignment that is now getting underway at BT Consumer, created to position the entire organisation as a national communications provider of choice. "Arguably, the biggest partnership announcement is with Amazon", he said.

All of BT's call centres are due to follow return to the United Kingdom and Ireland by 2020, after a similar move by EE improved customer satisfaction.

It's also partnering with Enjoy to offer same-day delivery to a location of the customer's choice, and personalised set-up of the customer's new service or device. Plans for a service that can switch between Wi-Fi and 4G depending on the connection have always been long talked about.

Sister brands EE and Plusnet are also launching new customer-friendly services, including for EE customers the ability to share mobile data between family members, and a new mobile app for Plusnet that allows customers to manage their account and get help.

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In keeping with this BT will launch two new products so that customers "never again have to think or worry about which network they're connected to" (assuming you've ever felt a need to "worry" about such things - we haven't) - the BT Plus service and the Keep Connected Promise.

EE is becoming the first United Kingdom network to support all major Smart Home ecosystems with new, strategic partnerships with Hive and Nest plus a wide range of smart cameras, thermostats, sensors and lighting - providing options for customers whether they prefer Hive, Google, Apple Homekit, or Alexa smart home ecosystems.

The new strategy comes after chief executive Gavin Patterson announced a restructuring plan that included cutting 13,000 jobs and moving its London headquarters to cut costs.

"This growing unit is very well positioned to be a leader in the changing United Kingdom multiplay market".

"Convergence isn't just about bundling products", Allera said.

Analyst Paolo Pescatore at CCS Insight said the update provides a much-needed boost to BT, given the widespread negative publicity it has endured in recent months. "More importantly the new structure and strategy provides better clarity on the future direction of the consumer segment which has been in limbo for some time".

"Encouragingly, Marc and his team are taking a broader role beyond mobile and individual consumers and more about household telecom requirements. However, we reiterate our belief that at least one will be dropped in the medium to long term".

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