BT Is Said to Unveil Consumer Mobile-Phone Service This WeekAmy Thomson
BT Group Plc plans to introduce a wireless service for consumers this week as the former U.K. phone monopoly expands into bundles of mobile, TV and broadband offerings, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The person asked not to be identified before an official announcement. BT has said it will initially lease network capacity from EE Ltd. under a wholesale accord signed before BT agreed last month to acquire the wireless carrier from Deutsche Telekom AG and Orange SA for about $19 billion.
London-based BT already sells mobile-phone services to corporate customers. A wireless offer for consumers would be the first for the carrier since it spun off its mobile business more than a decade ago to repay debt.
In an e-mailed statement, BT said its new mobile service will initially target existing customers. The Financial Times on Saturday reported BT’s plans to unveil a package of offers this week.
Shares of BT declined 0.1 percent to 464.90 pence at 8:06 a.m. in London. They’ve gained 16 percent this year.
It’s not immediately clear how much BT’s new service will cost. Virgin Media, the U.K. unit of John Malone’s Liberty Global Plc, was one of the first companies to introduce so-called quadruple-play services, with packages starting at 21 pounds ($31) a month, excluding a 16.99 pound monthly fee for connecting a phone line, according to its website.
TalkTalk Telecom Group Plc sells a bundle of broadband, calls and TV for 4.25 pounds a month, excluding a monthly 16.70 pound phone-line fee. Vodafone Group Plc is preparing its own packages of broadband and TV service to be announced later this year.
Telecommunications providers are increasingly combining TV, Web, mobile and home-phone packages to retain customers. BT offers sport channels free to its broadband Internet subscribers, competing with pay-TV companies such as Sky Plc for exclusive access to the most popular broadcasting rights.