BT appoints itself national champion, announces Halo converged offerings

News

Operators’ top execs outline convergence products and customer service strategy for consumers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

At a press conference held at its iconic HQ close to St Paul’s Cathedral in London yesterday, BT sought to position itself as a national champion and doer of public good.

It is shifting its business to converged offers and intends to differentiate itself through customer service, which the company says it is “best-placed” to do, based on having the “best” networks in the UK.

In response to a question from Mobile Europe about how it intended to fund the slew of announcements, many of which had been flagged previously, if not in detail, CEO Philip Jansen, replied, “When we announced our results in May…we did articulate some additional investments then, it was roughly about £350 million, split between opex and capex…[that] is delivering some of these kinds of things. We have also redirected a lot of spend.”

He added, “The investments we’ve made are significant, but you can’t cut your way to greatness”.

Jansen was joined on stage by the CEO of BT’s Consumer Unit, Marc Allera, and Gerry McQuade, CEO of BT’s Enterprise division who outlined the plans for their respective domains.

The announcements included:

• Halo converged portfolio for homes and businesses including unlimited voice and data at home and on the go. This will supersede the current converged offer for consumers, BT Plus, which has over 1 million subscribers, from November.

BT Plus/Halo customers will be the first BT customers to be able to upgrade to 5G from Friday 11 October, where available, when the service goes live in an additional 20 towns and cities. Six cities are already live and another seven towns and cities should have 5G by the end of the year.

Support from a team of 900 Home Tech Experts will help people with set up and use digital technology in their homes.

Halo for SMEs will provide service guarantees, with options to add 4G or 5G mobile from its mobile unit, EE and include support from a new Tech Experts team to set up the technology and make sure customers get the most from it.

BT will announce more details about Halo soon.

• Bringing back all customer-facing contact centres to the UK and Ireland by January 2020 – a year ahead of schedule.

• Relaunching the BT brand on UK high streets in over 600 EE stores and training staff to be able to advise on the converged portfolio as well as mobile products and services.

• Offering 24/7 customer support for businesses around the world.

• Launching the Skills for Tomorrow programme – an online community training programme to provide digital skills training for 10 million school children, families and businesses across the UK. It was not clear how the figure of 10 million was arrived at.

• Building out full fibre to 4 million premises by March 2021 with an ambition to reach 15 million by mid-2020’s. The operator is to launch new full fibre plans in November, although BT previously has make it clear that its rollout targets will depend on what level and kind of help it can secure from the government to ensure a return on its investment. It will stop selling copper-based services where fibre is available.

• Upgrading 700,000 home and business customers to superfast broadband by June 2020 at no extra charge, launching 5G on BT.

• Becoming ‘lead partner’ to all UK Home Nations Football Associations (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) for the women’s and men’s teams

• Launching partnership with Apprentice Nation to encourage more people to take up apprenticeships.

More details about the many announcements can be found here.