coms giant BT will this week start paving the way for a re-entry to the consumer mobile phones market when it launches a mobile offering targeting its existing 900,000 small and medium-sized business (SME) customers.
BT yesterday sent out invites for Thursday’s event at the BT Tower where it will reveal pricing and packages for the service, which will be immediately available for BT Business SME customers.
While many details are being kept under wraps, the mobile offering is expected to combine a network deal with EE – signed in October allowing BT to act as a virtual network, similar to Virgin Mobile – with BT’s own 4G spectrum that it bought as part of Ofcom’s auction last year for £186.5m.
At BT’s full year results in May, chief executive Gavin Patterson said the mobile offering would also include a wi-fi hub with a built-in 4G cell, allowing calls to be offloaded onto BT’s national network.
“We’ll have a high-capacity, data-rich network that will be very cost effective. And positioned the right way, I think we can provide some really compelling services to customers who want access to the internet wherever they are with a very high-quality service,” said Patterson.
He added that a consumer offering would follow later this financial year, marking BT’s first return to the market since it sold Cellnet in 2001.