Britain's biggest telecoms company, BT, aims to reinvigorate its unloved brand by combining the strengths of its fixed-line and mobile networks, it said on Wednesday. EE broadband customers also enjoy data boosts on their EE mobile plan, with up to 20GB of mobile data that they can gift to family members on the same account.
BT will also be launching a new "Keep Connected Promise" where customers experiencing broadband outages will either have their BT Mobile 4G data allowances boosted to unlimited, ensuring they can stay online, or be sent a new 4G Wi-Fi Mini Hub with unlimited data so they can carry on surfing and streaming while their service is repaired.
Customers will be able to buy new products and get help in any store as part of a new initiative to make BT and its sister brands "local" to consumers.
We're investing across BT, EE and Plusnet so that we can provide our customers with the widest choice of products and services, on the best networks, and with the best service in the UK.
Meanwhile EE will seek to be the first United Kingdom network to offer a superfast same-day smartphone delivery and expert set-up service, which will launch in London first, and they'll boost their customer support via augmented reality (AR) customer service tools, EE Remote Support and EE Virtual Support. It also hopes to put new, digitised customer service options in place. "We're investing across BT, EE and Plusnet so that we can provide our customers with the widest choice of products and services, on the best networks, and with the best service in the United Kingdom". Plans for a service that can switch between Wi-Fi and 4G depending on the connection have always been long talked about. It is also launching supplier-agnostic support for smart home devices through partnerships with the likes of Hive, Google, Apple Homekit and Alexa.
EE customers will be getting new support and set-up tools, including augmented reality (AR) assistance, a number of new features for household plans, such as data gifting and enhanced parental controls, and hybrid mobile plans which combine features from pay-as-you-go and contract plans.
Paolo Pescatore, vice-president of multiplay and media at analyst group CCS Insight, said the update set a new course for the consolidated BT Consumer unit, which was created in September 2017 when EE was folded into BT Consumer, having previously been run as a standalone business unit since its acquisition.
Paolo Pescatore, analyst at CCS insight, said: "This growing unit is very well positioned to be a leader in the changing United Kingdom multiplay market. More importantly the new structure and strategy provides better clarity on the future direction of the consumer segment which has been in limbo for some time".
In a candid address to journalists, Allera said customer feedback showed the overseas call centres did not offer the same level of service as those in the United Kingdom and that customers were right to demand performance that matched the increasingly vital role broadband and telecoms play in our daily lives.
"The three distinct brands remain and for now clearly cater for specific segments". The move to support Amazon Prime video positions BT TV as an aggregator of content services including Netflix and Now TV from next year.
We will also be interested to see how a bonded 4G and fixed line broadband network will work in practice, not least with respect to potentially improving overall data speeds for those on slower lines but also in terms of managing usage allowances (fixed lines tend to be unlimited while mobile is usually capped) or port forwarding flexibility when playing online video games.
The Amazon partnership, he said, could turn around BT's fortunes given that BT TV has recorded losses for the past two quarters and subscriber growth has been lacklustre in recent years.