BT Returns To Mobile Market With 'BT One Phone' For Businesses

Thu, 17th Jul 2014 10:49

LONDON (Alliance News) - BT Group PLC Thursday launched its new mobile service for small and medium-sized businesses, called 'BT One Phone', its re-entry into the mobile market after an over ten-year absence.

BT pulled out of the mobile market in 2001, when it split off its BT Cellnet division, which was relaunched in 2002 as O2. BT snapped up 4G spectrum coverage in an Ofcom auction last year, and in March, it signed a mobile virtual network operator agreement with EE Ltd to access its 2G, 3G and 4G services.

At a press conference Thursday, the company announced two services for businesses - One Phone Office and One Phone Professional.

The One Phone services will link up a businesses office phone system and mobile phones into a single converged service on a user's mobile phone, hosted in the cloud. For the One Phone Office service, BT will install a dedicated mobile network in a customer's premises.

The service will operate over this network whilst the user is in the building and will switch over to BT's mobile national network one an employee leaves the building.

The Professional version of the service does not involve the set up of an on-site network, and will instead use BT's national network. At the press conference Thursday, BT said that the Office version of the product will have a deployment time of no more than 12 weeks, depending on the customer, and the Professional will take 8 weeks.

BT did not give any specific details on price, saying that the services will be priced at a "comparable level to similar products on the market", and noting that pricing also will depend on other services it provides to the same customer. There will likely be a solution price and a bespoke price for the products, it said.

Over the next few weeks, BT Business will announce its new mobile price plans, it said.

The product has been trialling with a small number of businesses since November 2013, and the company said that its presently targeted at companies with 20 to 250 employees, although it said it had "a roadmap to expand that in both directions".

Tapping into the 'bring your own device' trend, the service will be usable on a range of mobile phones by inserting a BT One Phone SIM card, although it is optimised to BT's range of devices, the company said at the press conference.

A consumer mobile service is also in the works for a later release, although BT did not provide any further details on its consumer plans Thursday.

Shares in BT were trading down 1.2% at 382.50 pence late Thursday morning.

By Hana Stewart-Smith; hanassmith@alliancenews.com; @HanaSSAllNews

Copyright 2014 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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