New BT consumer strategy to include hybrid network with EE
As part of its re-launched consumer strategy, BT has revealed a number of proposed products and services across BT Consumer brands, including EE and Plusnet.
The new ‘Best Connected’ plan is a commitment to keep customers connected by bringing together the best of mobile, broadband and Wi-Fi networks through what it says is the UK’s first converged, smart network, which is scheduled for completion in 2022. The strategy aims to make ultrafast broadband with speeds up to 314Mb/s available to more homes – up from more than. The ultrafast broadband comes with a guarantee of speeds of more than 100Mb/s.
BT Plus, meanwhile, will bring together home broadband, mobile and Wi-Fi capabilities into one converged plan, where, if ever there is a fault with a customer’s home broadband, BT enables unlimited data on their BT mobile plans and will send a 4G Wi-Fi Mini Hub with unlimited data so the customer can stay connected while their broadband is repaired. Mobile customers’ ‘Time on 4G’ is also set to be raised 99% by 2020, and the incumbent aims to be first to market with 5G mobile to complement 4G.
Interestingly, EE is currently showcasing a prototype for a new category of converged broadband – EE Hybrid Broadband technology. This hybrid home broadband combines the superfast broadband network with the 4G network to offer customers consistent, reliably fast broadband speeds, even in areas with traditionally slow broadband speeds or at peak times. The hybrid technology ensures that one technology can take over the other in the event of a fault. It is still in the development stages and is due for release in 2019.
Marc Allera, CEO of BT's Consumer business, said in a statement: ‘BT runs the UK’s most advanced mobile and broadband networks, but our customers demand better connections, and the best service no matter where they are. We’re investing across BT, EE and Plusnet so that we can provide our customers with the widest choice of products and services, on the best networks, and with the best service in the UK. We’re beginning our journey to create one converged, smart network built on our world-leading fixed and mobile networks – going beyond 4G, 5G, Wi-Fi and ultrafast broadband to seamlessly connect our customers wherever they are to the things that matter most to them.’
Under the new plans, BT will onshore its customer service roles to answer 100% of calls in the UK & Ireland by the end of 2020. The company also recently set out its latest strategy update as part of its full year results for 2017-2018. Revealed in the update was the intention to increase its FTTP and mobile infrastructure investment within an annual capex allocation of around £3.7 billion, and cut costs with a three-year reduction of around 13,000 employees (see BT invests £3.7 billion annually in FTTP and 5G infrastructure, cuts 13,000 jobs).