BT offers bundles as CEO seeks rebound from outlook flop

By BLOOMBERG

LONDON • BT Group plc, still reeling from an outlook for falling profits delivered last week, is counting on a slew of new consumer offerings to lift investor sentiment.

The company is pulling the trigger on its unique ability to offer packages of mobile and landline services, two years after the £12.5 billion (RM67.06 billion) acquisition of mobile carrier EE. The UK’s former phone monopoly yesterday said it would offer bundled services including mobile for the first time, to squeeze more revenue per customer and boost loyalty in a highly competitive telecom market that’s nearing saturation.

“When you think about it, this is why BT and EE did get together: It was for convergence,” Marc Allera (picture), chief of BT’s consumer division, told reporters, referring to the industry term for bringing together mobile and fixed services. “We’re going to change the face of networks in the UK.”

BT CEO Gavin Patterson needs a win with investors after revealing a strategy update on May 10 that flopped, sending the shares on their biggest slide in 15 months.

Patterson forecast that earnings wouldn’t start growing again until 2021, as BT contends with lower wholesale broadband prices imposed by regulators, and announced 13,000 job cuts as he seeks to restructure the carrier. The stock has dropped each day since then and is hovering around the lowest since June 2012.

The new consumer offers include a “BT Plus” plan with the fastest Internet speeds available at home, backstopped by unlimited mobile data and free overnight delivery of a fourth-generation mobile WiFi mini-hub if there is a problem with the fixed connection.

The separate EE brand, aimed at younger more techsavvy users, will sell a flexible month-to-month tariff and a family service which lets the subscriber pass on data allowances to other members.

Amazon Prime customers will be able to access the service on the BT video platform for the first time.

While the carrier hasn’t yet announced prices for the new services, Allera said the average customer could expect to spend about £75 to £80 a month on the “BT Plus” bundle.