BT chief Gavin Patterson says EE merger will create a ‘digital champion’ for UK


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

June 17, 2015 | 3 min read

BT's imminent acquisition of EE will create a “true UK digital champion” willing to invest in the services needed to appease the appetite of the most digitally hungry country in Europe, according to the telco’s boss Gavin Patterson and EE chief Olaf Swantee.

Speaking at the launch of a report which detailed why the UK economy and consumers would benefit from the proposed merger, Patterson said the combined entity would have the scale and expertise to deliver the UK’s connected future and help put “clear blue water” between the UK and its international peers.

“The world is changing with customers wanting access to the internet on their terms,” he said.

“They are spending more time online than ever before and they want the best connection whether they are at home, in the office or on the move. Seamless connectivity is the future and we are keen to deliver the new, innovative services of the future.”

Meanwhile, EE chief executive Swantee added that the UK is the “most digitally hungry country in Europe” and needs a digital champion to invest in services such as ultrafast broadband and 5G.

“A world-leading, combined fixed and mobile, digital infrastructure will sit at the heart of a successful UK economy. The success of the UK in the future will be built on its ability to deliver real-time, data-heavy information through leading edge network technology. Bringing BT and EE together makes that possible,” he said.

Both companies claims to have jointly ploughed upwards of £35bn to delivering such services over the past ten years. The UK currently has the highest superfast broadband coverage and take-up in the EU as well as the fastest European 4G network.

However, "significant" competition concerns have been raised among regulators while rivals Sky and TalkTalk have voiced their issue with the company gaining a monopoly over UK broadband as a result of the merger.

The deal – if approved – would combine BT’s more than 10 million retail customers and EE’s 24.5 million mobile subscribers.

Swantee argued that the merger between T-Mobile and Orange had unlocked investment and enabled EE to drive 4G forward in the UK and warned of the danger of allowing rivals to obstruct the deal.

“These competitors only want to put up roadblocks, while we want to build motorways for the UK’,” he said.

The proposed acquisition remains subject to merger approval from the UK Competition and Markets Authority. BT expects the process and the EE transaction to complete by the end of March 2016.


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