Approval for BT acquisition of EE has been given
BT will very soon be welcoming EE into the BT family though this may bring some uncertainty as acquisitions always carry the risk of job losses as duplicate roles and departments are merged. The news for EE customers at this time is that EE will continue as its own business, we presume not unlike how Plusnet operates.
The acquisition has given Deutsche Telekom 12% of BT shares and Orange 4%, plus a member of the BT Board will be a Deutsche Telekom representative and will be appointed in the near future. The deal closes on 29th January 2016 and there should be some more detail in the Q3 2015/16 BT financial results due to be published on the 1st February.
Looking into the crystal ball the real benefits may be that BT Mobile and EE mobile services may see larger data bundles, perhaps even a fixed 4G Home service with an unlimited or near to unlimited monthly allowance. An expansion of BT Mobile to more than simple SIM bundles into full phone contracts looks likely too.
The acquisition will see questions raised about how BT can afford to do this sort of thing, when it is being subsidised by the Government for the roll-out of superfast broadband across swathes of the UK, in the same way that the BT Sport deals always see complaints made. The gap funding of the BDUK process is very different to the old way in which firms like British Leyland were propped up, particularly as via the clawback mechanism the public by upgrading to the faster service actually have the ability to force more money back into the public purse or to be re-cycled and used to roll-out more services.
The approval of the acquisition will have resulted in a sigh of relief from the BT Board, the next great unknown is what Ofcom will do about Openreach, even if no split occurs and a new set of rules are imposed this takes time to impose and the more radical solutions will take longer to become operational. The full split of Openreach into its own PLC favoured by many while potentially game changing will see business as usual for some time, as new products cannot appear over night and any major network rebuild will mean an extensive recruitment programme as the existing Openreach workforce already appears stretched with existing contractual obligations i.e. BDUK contracts and a larger workforce increases costs which might increase the wholesale price. The question and its the one every operator would love to know is whether the market would accept an extra £5/month on everyone's bill if it meant that the rare fault you may have will be dealt with swiftly and that full UK wide FTTH roll-outs had a clear path over the next couple of decades.