After weeks of intense negotiations, BT has finally agreed to purchase EE in a deal worth £12.5 billion.
It said that the acquisition will provide customers with “innovative, seamless services that combine the power of fibre broadband with Wi-Fi and advanced mobile capabilities”.
This is a significant move from BT, as the merger with EE, the largest mobile phone network in the UK, represents a shift back to the mobile market.
In an official press release, the telecommunications company said the deal will “accelerate” its mobile strategy and give it the knowledge, expertise and resources to further invest and innovate in product development.
“This is a major milestone for BT as it will allow us to accelerate our mobility plans and increase our investment in them,” commented BT’s chief executive Gavin 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 currently has some 31 million customers, of which 24.5 million are classed as direct mobile customers. It also has the “largest 4G customer base of any operator in Europe”.
News of the deal first emerged in December last year. It followed on the footsteps of its failure to successfully acquire O2, which it had originally demerged from in 2001 (to the regret of many of its leaders in subsequent years).
“Joining BT represents an exciting next stage for our company, customers, and people. In the last few years alone, we have built the UK’s biggest, fastest and best 4G network, significantly advancing the digital communications infrastructure for people and businesses across Britain,” said EE’s chief executive Olaf Swantee.