BT hatches a cunning new multiplay plan

Lloyd Doyle
May 16, 2018

Still smarting from last week's dismal annual results, BT today made a raft of announcements for its consumer group, including a converged broadband and mobile network. Allera said the firm is building a "single core network" meant to support a wider range of converged products will be ready by 2020 across BT's fixed and mobile assets.

The new "Consumer" Business Unit of BT Group - comprising BT, EE and Plusnet - is launching its "Best Connected" plan, a commitment to provide the best connections, the best service and the best experiences to its customers across the UK.

More broadly, BT Consumer will also launch a business unit dedicated to establishing and maintaining partnerships with other innovative tech companies, with the aim of bringing their products and services to customers, and giving users the ability to control such services by, for example, making micro-payments through their mobile bills.

EE customers will be getting new support and set-up tools, including augmented reality (AR) assistance, a number of new features for household plans, such as data gifting and enhanced parental controls, and hybrid mobile plans which combine features from pay-as-you-go and contract plans.

The first technological evidence of the convergence strategy will take the form of a hybrid home broadband router, which will be made available to EE broadband customers at first.

Such a service could theoretically come into its own for users in those remaining parts of the United Kingdom that receive fixed broadband speeds of under 10Mbps, where adding a 4G connection - note that EE now claims to cover 90% of the United Kingdom population geographically - would bump up their speeds to over both the Ofcom and government definitions of superfast broadband.

"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".

EE is becoming the first United Kingdom network to support all major Smart Home ecosystems with new, strategic partnerships with Hive and Nest plus a wide range of smart cameras, thermostats, sensors and lighting - providing options for customers whether they prefer Hive, Google, Apple Homekit, or Alexa smart home ecosystems.

EE is launching the UK's first mobile plans that allow families to gift their data to anyone on their account. Families can turn their data into digital pocket money, monitor and control their children's usage online, and stop them ever running out of data without having to spend an extra penny, all with a few taps through the My EE app.

The new converged services will be branded BT Plus and are scheduled for commercial launch next week.

"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", said BT consumer CEO Marc Allera. BT will also be returning to the high street across the United Kingdom throughout 2018, providing customers with BT products and advice in EE's expanding footprint of more than 620 retail stores.

BT will also be launching a new "Keep Connected Promise" where customers experiencing broadband outages will either have their BT Mobile 4G data allowances boosted to unlimited, ensuring they can stay online, or be sent a new 4G Wi-Fi Mini Hub with unlimited data so they can carry on surfing and streaming while their service is repaired.

The bonded network technology is just one element of a much wider strategic realignment that is now getting underway at BT Consumer, created to position the entire organisation as a national communications provider of choice. "Positioned as a premium offering, it is a modest start but we expect more competitive offers to emerge". BT will be the first major UK TV platform to offer Prime Video through its set top boxes, allowing Prime Members to access thousands of TV episodes and movies, including award-winning Prime Originals and exclusive series like The Grand Tour, The Man in the High Castle, Lucifer, and Vikings.

Personally we like to keep our fixed line and mobile services as separate and thus flexible (switching) as possible but others may have a different preference. Meanwhile Plusnet will no doubt retain their position as a low cost niche.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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