We first heard BT was entering “exclusive negotiations” to buy EE mid-December last year, and it’s now official. Well, as official as it can get for now.
The pair has agreed a deal that will see BT (which formerly operated BT Cellnet, now O2) grab EE (the combined network of Orange and T-Mobile) for a cool £12.5 billion.
The pair has fired out endless statements of positivity, though it could be March 2016 – the end of the next financial year – before BT actually sits down and writes the cheque.
That’s because the competition commission will want to go through things with a fine-tooth comb, though on the surface, at least, BT buying EE seems slightly less of a big deal than Three buying O2, which will take us from Big Four to Big Three.
The key point here is that BT will become a “quad” player akin to Virgin Media and TalkTalk, offering TV services, home broadband, landline telephone, and now mobile phone.
“This is a major milestone for BT as it will allow us to accelerate our mobility plans and increase our investment in them,” yelled BT chief exec Gavin “GP” Patterson.
"The UK's leading 4G network will now dovetail with the UK's biggest fibre network, helping to create the leading converged communications provider in the UK.
"Consumers and businesses will benefit from new products and services as well as from increased investment and innovation."
EE chief exec Olaf Swantee adds: "Today's announcement will ensure the UK remains at the forefront of the mobile revolution, bringing even more innovation and investment in world leading connectivity for our customers."
So, lots of big goings-on in telecoms at the moment. Sky recently announced it’ll launch an MVNO service on O2 this Spring, while rumours persist of Virgin Media and Vodafone jumping in the sack.