Technology and Science
EE TV: which bits should BT keep?
BT may be planning to buy EE, but the mobile network’s recently-launched TV service shows promise, and could help BT appeal to the mobile generation, says Sophie Curtis
BT has signalled its intention to buy EE, Britain’s biggest mobile operator, for £12.5 billion, and if the buyout goes ahead, it is likely that BT will combine the two companies’ services to become a quad-play provider – offering mobile, home phone, broadband and TV.
While BT’s home phone and broadband products are well established, and EE’s mobile network has been named the best in Britain, neither company has cracked the TV market yet.
BT originally launched its subscription TV service, BT Vision, in 2006, but adoption was slow amid stiff competition from Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk. It was not until 2012, when BT joined the YouView consortium and started giving away free YouView boxes to all its broadband subscribers that its TV offering really began to take off.
Now BT offers up to 70 Freeview TV and radio channels as well as seven days of catch-up TV on BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5, and access to on-demand content from channels such as National Geographic, MTV, Now TV and Netflix, as well as BT Sport. It had just over 1 million subscribers, as of April 2014.
EE TV, meanwhile, Comment. It also offers a mixture of live, recorded, on-demand and catch-up services – including BBC iPlayer, Demand 5 and – and is free to EE mobile customers who also subscribe to EE Broadband plans of £9.95 a month or above.