BT to return to mobile market after 11 years

BT is set to offer its customers mobile phone services after an 11-year absence from the market.

The telecoms firm is considering adding mobile coverage to the TV broadband and landline services it currently sells, as more consumers take bundled packages.

BT already runs a mobile service for business customers and its staff using Vodafone’s network, although it has recently opened a process to find a new operator, with O2 the hot favourite.

The move would reunite the two companies 11 years after BT spun off O2 in 2002, and would add an extra operator into an already-competitive mobile market. BT would be able to supplement the network with the 4G spectrum it spent £186.5m on in Ofcom’s recent auction, which will be used to boost its Wi-Fi services.

“We can confirm that we’re exploring various options given the excellent spectrum we have and that we plan to build on our strength in Wi-Fi,” a BT spokesperson said.

Selling broadband, landline, TV and mobile services together – a so-called quad-play offering – would allow BT to increase its profit per customer, a strategy that has paid off for its rival Virgin Media.