The BT / EE mega-deal: Will it mean better service and more attractive costs for consumers?

5th February 2015

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BT has agreed to buy EE for £12.5bn, creating a telecommunications giant that will cover mobile, fixed line, broadband and television services.

Presently, only Virgin Media and TalkTalk offer all the above – or so-called quad play bundles.

As part of the deal current EE stockholders Orange and Deutsche Telekom will sell 100% of their shares and the latter firm will get a12% stake in the new business and have a seat on the board.

But experts are hoping the new business, where BT is aiming to save some £360m as a result of the deal, will pass on some cost savings to consumers.

Gautam Srivastava, communications expert at comparison sit MoneySuperMarket has described the deal as representing “a hefty commitment from BT” in its bid to be the quad-play provider of choice.

There are advantages for customers who choose to have all of their communications under one provider, namely, the ease of having just the one bill to navigate each month across all services.

Srivastava said: “Currently only Virgin Media and TalkTalk offer all four services of TV, Phone, Mobile and Broadband, but with mediocre results. BT is aiming to change that, and become the first true one-stop shop when it comes to bundled communications.

“However, with BT aspiring to making £360m worth of savings in synergies with its acquisition of EE, we would like to see these savings passed on to the customer. Price is important and people want to make the most of their money and not pay over the odds for their services.”

Srivastava said that ideally the hope is now that BT will be able to offer ‘bundles’ and loyalty incentives which should mean cheaper prices for customers across the board.

“With BT also heavily investing in its BT Sport service, which is currently free to BT broadband subscribers, only time will tell if this incentive will also be rolled out to EE customers,” he added.

Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com believes that while the deal is likely to have a significant impact on the market – and consumers who want to take out the resulting quad-play services may see savings, there could also be some disadvantages.

Doky said: “Not only is it potentially harder for customers to get out of a quad-play bundle if they’re not happy with part of the service but, with BT joining the quad-play fray, things could also become more confusing for consumers.

“So many different bundles available for different products mean it can be trickier to compare deals across providers, and subsequently to know if you are getting a good deal.

“It will be down to BT and EE to ensure all packages are clear, transparent and competitively priced for customers if quad-play is to succeed.”

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