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BT Planning Radical Re-Entry into UK Mobile Market

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The UK's dominant landline operator, British Telecom (BT) plans a radical re entry into the mobile market later this year. The launch of the BT branded service would come 13 years after it sold off what is now the O2 mobile network.

The group's CEO, Gavin Patterson, told the Daily Telegraph that it would "shake up" the mobile market, much in the way that it revamped its TV cable services.

BT, which picked up some LTE spectrum in the auction last year will re-launch its mobile network for businesses within three months, with its re-entry into the consumer market due by next April.

Although it has radio spectrum, it still lacks a network, so has signed a wholesale agreement with the mobile network operator, EE. That will be in addition to BT's existing vast Wi-Fi hotspot network service.

Part of the company's plans includes upgrading the domestic Wi-Fi hotspots it supplies to consumers to act as local small cells, broadcasting mobile signal on its own spectrum allocation.

That would substantially speed up the network's reach into the suburbs and residential areas of towns, leaving it free to concentrate on building a network in the town centres and key traffic locations.

Mr Patterson said: "We're combining those [technologies] all together to be able to create broadband services for customers that you can bundle with fixed so they can access the internet when they're out and about with a very high quality service that really performs extremely well on things like video."

On the web: Daily Telegraph

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Tags: british telecom  UK