back to article BT thinks EE customers will FLEE from enlarged four-play mobe biz

BT has warned its shareholders that a tumble in mobile prices is a factor that has to be considered ahead of voting to agree the £12.5bn purchase of EE. In a 104-page circular of legalese (PDF) sent to BT shareholders, the telecoms behemoth recommends that shareholders vote to agree the deal. The company says that this is …

  1. Dabooka Silver badge

    Well unless I'm missing something

    "Its rivals might take a dim view of this, wanting the Openreach fibre to be prised out of BT’s hands. This scenario isn't listed in the possible risks."

    Could BT list it as a risk without acknowledging they're getting a competitive advantage?

    Pint because it's nearly home time for 4 days and that's what I have waiting

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ignorance of the UK telecoms market

      You show your complete ignorance here, as BT aren't getting a competitive advantage, that's the whole point of Openreach being separated into a firewalled company from the rest of BT, and the Undertakings BT agreed on this with Ofcom.

      Openreach deals with BT, in an equivalent manner to Talk Talk, Vodafone, Sky etc... and the rest of the telecoms hangers on.

      Ofcom have never pulled BT up on this, and it's very very heavily monitored in BT - ask any BT staffer about Mandatory training, and Undertakings, and they'll groan like having to go to the dentist - *everyone& has to do it regardless of whether they are in telecoms or not - from cleaners, through IT services people to probably even Jake Humphry and Clare Balding on BT Sport.

      If you did want a company to be split up who are appearing to be gaining a competitive advantage, how about Sky TV content from Sky TV platform - their shenanigans of fragmenting Sky Sports 1 and 2 TV rights into a plethora of different channels, that aren't offered for rebroadcast by competitors is symptomatic of the behavior they accuse BT of, but have never been able to find any evidence of it - Sky Ryder \cup, Sky Champions league, Sky Sports F1 etc......

      ........... It could be argued Sky have a dominant position in the UK pay TV market place, the measure Ofcom/competition authorities need to intervene, as it is bad for competition - esp sunce Virgin media hocked their share in UKTV to Sky - Living, Bravo, Virgin 1 etc...a few years back.

      1. Dabooka Silver badge

        Re: Ignorance of the UK telecoms market

        I'm showing MY complete ignorance? Or are you just showing your [corporate induced?] naivety?

  2. dogged


    I think they might overestimating that risk.

    Anyone prepared to tolerate EE's shitty service should be able to swallow BT's equally shitty service.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Churn

      "Anyone prepared to tolerate EE's shitty service should be able to swallow BT's equally shitty service."

      Possibly, although EE would have to have gone some to have matched BT's legendary customer indifference. I would suspect that this is a polite way of saying that the BT brand itself has some negative equity in some corners, and those EE customers who have already fled BT's landline services will probably rinse and repeat at renewal time.

      Having said all that, this document is just a "don't sue us afterwards because we warned you" publication, and therefore has to present both sides of each equation, rather than giving anything away about management thinking.

      1. getHandle

        Re: Churn

        I always found EE's customer service to be keen but crap. Mostly clueless, script following, no initiative.

        I didn't really expect much more so I'm glad I only needed to talk to them a couple of times.

        At least indifference would set my expectations from the outset.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Shitty Service

      ... as opposed to O2's shitty service, Vodafone's shitty service, Virgin Mobile';s shitty service, Tesco Mobile's shitty service, GiffGaff's shitty service, 3's shitty off-shored to some Indian shed shitty service..............

      they are all shit. Perhaps (BT Owned) PlusNet would consider doing mobile, as they have at least great service - perhaps as they are ran parallel to BT Broadband, not part of it.

      1. Da Weezil

        Re: Shitty Service

        Oh bollox.. "we are going to use this to upsell to those who already quit our overpriced phone service and dont want our IPTV..." looks like a spam campaign in in the offing, Might be time to move my mobe again which is annoying as the identity crisis network is the only one that works properly in the are where I am employed.

        Strange thing is that EE have been ok in rrespect of CS.. I call them... they do whatever I request... it just works for me - maybe I am lucky.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Funny you should say that I left EE last year when those muppets lifted £500 from my account due to erroneous billing. Got my money back and they got an ear full of Clarkson.

      Even more of a reason to swerve them now they have joined forces with The Dark Side.

      Have an upvote Sir


  4. Fihart

    A perfect match.

    BT's ridiculous charge for paying a bill other than by direct debit.

    EE/T-Mobile charging 12p or 15p for PAYG texts -- texts cost the telco's so little nobody has been able to calculate it.

  5. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Loyal Orange/EE customer

    I have been a customer of Orange/EE for over 25 years now. I'm talking about Mobile phone and (more recently) Pocket Landline contracts, not broadband, which I am aware is a problem for many. Funnily enough I have never ever had to threaten them with moving my business elsewhere. Ok, they don't do Blackberries any more, which is a real shame, but I can source my hardware from elsewhere. Yes, the tariffs might not be anywhere near the cheapest in the market, but I need reliability above all else, and I have to say that they have delivered this consistently for that length of time.

    I am also a BT shareholder, don't know why I've still got shares in BT, the amount of complaining that I do on client's behalf. My experiences of BT, from any angle you care to look at, is pitiful. On that basis I think I will be looking at other mobile options if the quality suffers. So that's a 'No' vote you can expect from me.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Loyal Orange/EE customer

      >My experiences of BT, from any angle you care to look at, is pitiful.

      They've consistently paid out a reasonable dividend, not sure what is so pitiful about that.

      As a shareholder and it depends on the purpose of your shareholding, the question is whether a drop in share price will impact the dividend long-term, if not it may present an opportunity to buy more shares...

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: Shareholdings and Dividends

        I haven't done the research, but these are my thoughts.

        If BT rock too many boats they could end up with acquiring an asset that wilts whilst at the possible expense of losing OpenReach. That would be very careless of them. OpenReach on its own might not seem like a "sexy" investment, but it is a guaranteed source of, albeit regulated, income for many years to come, a true "utility" company, presumably with a fantastic portfolio of solid fixed assets, as opposed to the frothy intangibles which is what BT will end up with, ok the stockmarket likes that kind of thing, but it is also very fickle too. I suspect that many investors in BT are investing in it purely because it is the only way to invest in OpenReach. Strip that element out (apparently nearly a third of BT's revenues) and see what happens to the share-price and dividend yield then. Not sure how existing share-holders would be compensated, I suppose it depends how that split is achieved.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Loyal Orange/EE customer

      You should be happy as a BT shareholder, as they have climbed out of the toilet of around 60p 5 years or so ago, to 460p currently......., with likelihood they will break £5 at some point this year.

  6. TonyJ Silver badge

    Yeah I moved my business mobile to EE late last year.

    Previously I'd been with O2 who started exceptional and ended a complete shower.

    I was initially quite nervous because they (EE) get so many poor reviews. Except they keep winning the best business provider award.*

    So I took a gamble thinking they couldn't be worse than O2 and so far, touch wood, they've been excellent. Far better coverage and far better customer services on the handful of times I've dealt with them.

    Not, however, cheap. But it's business connectivity and I believe you get what you pay for.

    *Don't know who awards them. I could look and find out but can't be bothered as to all intents and purposes it's Friday :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "(EE) get so many poor reviews. Except they keep winning the best business provider award"

      Well they didn't ask me and my many thousand colleagues, of whom something like 90% think EE's service stinks - not so much the "customer service" because we rarely have much to deal with EE staff, but the raw, underlying signal service. EE stuck in a picocell because of the crap coverage at our offices, but that's no help when you're off site, and their crap coverage comes home to roost.

      I'd guess the "best business provider award" only measures connectivity at large business customers' registered offices?

      1. TonyJ Silver badge

        Ledswinger...that's interesting because my coverage from O2 was lamentable. Most times I got either no signal or 2G. This is across different types of handset in many locations.

        So from my own perspective, the mostly 4G I get consistently with them is a revelation. And whilst I am happy to admit that so far it's covered only a handful of places compared to my O2 phones, it's true of the vast majority of them.

        I'm always intrigued how they can all manage to get this so wrong so frequently and how, really, not one of them seems to be able to provide good quality coverage consistently (taking into account what I just said due to limited travels so far).

        1. TonyJ Silver badge

          Really? Downvoted for giving my personal opinion of services I've personally received and how, in this case, the two compare...for me.

          Not sure what's going on on El Reg lately. Like the ones downvoting questions. Some people need a life.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I'd guess the "best business provider award" only measures connectivity at large business customers' registered offices?"

        Quite probably one located conveniently across the road from EE's own HQ, if my own experience is anything to go by.

  7. Nelbert Noggins

    I expect BT will suffer client losses from EE the same way Sky did when they took over O2 Broadband. The majority of clients won't be leaving because of poor EE service, they would leave anyway, it will be due to how they expect their service to end up once BT get their hands on them.

    It's clear BT want into QuadPlay, so Mobile will end up cost effective only when signing for all the other BT services as well. They'll keep the current EE packages and contracts as long as legally required then I bet all those contracts will be retired and everyone needs to sign up to the new BT packages contracts.

    No doubt if you don't want BT internet, TV, sport, phone line and call package as well it's not going to be anywhere near as cost effective unless BT start a run to the bottom on pricing to try and get customers.

    Maybe they should look at Sky's loss rate in the O2 buy out and then increase those numbers, mobile users often jump around networks, unlike broadband users.

    1. Fuzz


      I don't think this is going to be the same as O2 broadband. The customers of O2 were used to getting a decent level of service particularly those on bethere. Those customers already had the choice of sky broadband but had chosen not to go with it.

      Lots of EE customers are already going to also be BT customers for broadband and phone lines but at the moment they can't get mobile from BT, if they're already BT broadband customers I would imagine they will appreciate a cheap package deal on their mobiles.

      1. Nelbert Noggins

        Re: O2

        Maybe, although I think it's reasonable to say many home EE customers will also be EE (ex Orange internet) Broadband customers, which in most cases will be LLU, and already enjoying the benefits of reduced prices/extra mobile data, TV and whatever other delights that brings.

        EE is more than just a mobile network. What happens to line subscription, TV package, streaming services and the pricing when BT have finished?

        Is that also part of what BT are buying or are they just getting the mobile network?

        1. Dave Moffatt

          Re: O2

          EE isn't an LLU provider, its home phone and broadband offerings are BT Wholesale products and the customer service is, or at least was last year, provided by BT.

          1. Nelbert Noggins

            Re: O2

            My mistake, Orange used to be LLU, they were in my exchange, but it turns out they finally threw the towel in and gave up with LLU a few years ago, around the time when Orange and T-Mobile merged.

            Many existing EE/Orange customers likely be signed up to an internet, phone rental and call package, with mobile and potentially TV with EE. If BT want to get rid of the EE branding they will need to convince those customers to stay and switch to a BT contract.

            Maybe inertia will win and they'll stay, or it'll be the push to get them to see what the competition has on offer rather than continuing without question.

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: O2

              > If BT want to get rid of the EE branding they will need to convince those customers to stay and switch to a BT contract.

              Doesn't necessarily follow, remember BT own PlusNet...

              Personally, it would not surprise me if BT simply rebrands EE, given they have already made negative comments about the EE branding, and then use this brand for new converged offers.

          2. NeilPost

            Re: O2

            ... provided by Openreach (A BT Group company), not BT.

            Don;t mix up the firewalled from the rest of BT infrastructure/networks delivery company, from BT consumer/business hocking you infinity, TV, mobile, landline 'service'

            Ofcom undertakings etc....

            1. Dave Moffatt

              Re: O2 @neil

              If you were responding to me, I was referring to their call centres which are/were operated BT Wholesale/MSL in Coventry and Liverpool

    2. NeilPost

      MT Mobile MVNO

      BT Mobile have been on EE as a MVNO for almost a year now, having previously been on Vodafone, and O2 before that.

      When EE is integrated into BT, that's where disruption may happen.

    3. NeilPost

      SIM Free is the furure

      Often they will hop around for 'a deal'. but it's only the illusion of one.

      The best deals are always SIM free, and even if you put a £600+ iPhone 6/Galaxy S6/One M9 on a credit card (preferably 0% transfer) and pay the phone cost monthly, you are still £200-£300 ahead over the life of a 24 months deal with a 3 or GiffGaff SIM only deal.

  8. Red Bren

    MVNO to NO

    Virgin Mobile currently piggybacks on EE's network. Are Virgin going to continue to pay BT, while it tries to steal its quad-play lunch?

    Could Virgin persuade OFCOM and the CMA to force BT to divest one of their spectrum licences to ensure competition?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MVNO to NO

      Interesting point. We use Virgin Mobile, but after what BT did to my company in the 1990s I'm going to have a rethink if BT acquire EE and Three acquire O2.

      You might think that what happened in the 1990s is water under the bridge, but nothing I've heard about BT since suggests much has changed. Openreach...

      1. Nelbert Noggins

        Re: MVNO to NO

        Another interesting one is what will happen to GiffGaff? Is it a direct subsidiary of O2 and also part of the sale, or will it be retained by Telefonica and excluded from the sale?

    2. Cynical user

      Re: MVNO to NO

      I don't see that 2 competing "brands" using the same underlying infrastructure will be a major problem... what I'm more intrigued by is how BT/EE and 3/O2 are going to unscramble the CTIL/MBNL network-share conundrum.

  9. Lost in Cyberspace

    Best of a bad bunch

    Really it will come down to who's better out of BT/EE and Three/O2. IMO neither of the buying companies are known for excellent Customer Service... I don't know how many will jump from BT to Three.

  10. Mike Brown

    The monopolies commission should be looking into his one. The largest landline company, that has a firm grip on the broadband market, buying the largest mobile company, sounds a little iffy.

    also, why is there only one monopolies commission?

  11. Scott Broukell

    "... future voice services..."

    So something like - 'You will be called next month by the mother-in-law, press the hash key to divert the call to Saga Very Long Round the World Cruises, or press the star key to use the AI Automated Prerecorded Conversation system.'

  12. Zmodem

    people will flee because nobody but the middleclass care for BT, most of EE services rarely work now, they will be twice as bad if BT got hold of them or has

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