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EE head defends BT takeover asserting that it will drive 5G investment

The head of EE, the UK’s biggest mobile network, has defended BT’s takeover of the company enthusing that it will help drive 5G investment.

Olaf Swantee, EE chief executive, told Mobile World Live that the £12.5bn BT takeover of EE will help drive mobile web access in the UK to “that next level”.

Playing down the fears of the merger, Swantree pointed to the success which arose from the combination of Orange Group and Deutsche Telekom – which brought together the company now known as EE.

Swantree said: “We were able to unleash an investment programme that brought the UK from laggard to leader, the UK was way behind other markets in terms of its mobile network infrastructure, but today we are ahead of the curve and ahead of many markets.”

He added that the UK was behind in the first place because “operators and the industry overall was treating the network like a cost centre, and that it lacked investment to drive to the next level”.

He asserted that while 4G still has a “long road map” and “it will be a long time before we will see the need for higher speeds” although demand for video and TV on mobile could spearhead the push to 5G.

This comes after both Sky and TalkTalk called for the separation of BT and broadband infrastructure maintenance firm Openreach in the fear of the company gaining a monopoly over UK broadband as a result of the EE merger.

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