Monday, December 16, 2013

Will the real BT stand up?

Over the weekend I read three stories about BT which paint a confused view of just what it's future might be. On Saturday the Guardian reported that thanks to BT TV complaints have shoot up. The Yesterday's Sunday Times had two stories in the Business Section about the return of BT Mobile and a feature on NEW CEO Gavin Patterson's £2bn bet on sports TV.

If you read on paper you get the view that BT's retail strategy is in need of a major review. The customers are unhappy with the failings of not just it's TV product but also it's Broadband product. The only provider that gets more complaints for it's Broadband is EE.

Read the Sunday Times and all is good for BT it's about to get back in the Mobile Phone business after leaving in 2001 and BT TV has seen 3M on Virgin and Sky take the service. Then a full page feature on new CEO Gavin Paterson and his £2bn bet on sports TV is a bold gamble that aims to grow the business after a period of cost cutting. He will use a Quad Play offer to drive up incomes having bought some 4G spectrum and struct an MVNO deal with EE.

The problem is that Simon Duke in the Sunday Times does not seem to understand that BT has had MVNO agreements with O2 and Vodafone ever since it sold of it's mobile arm after over paying for 3G spectrum in 2000. He also does not seem to understand that since 2008 BT has failed to invest the money need to provide the long term upgrade in super-fast fibre to the curb rather than cabinet just as it failed to match European spending in ADSL deployment ten years previously.

When you start to understand that last week OFCOM reported that the UK has the lowest consumer prices for Mobile services in Europe you start to ask it's not just Duke that fails to understand the realities of a very competitive telecoms market but BT also.  For too long the Company thinks that one of its prime roles is to defend itself against the regulator rather than invest in it's Network so that it survives long term.  

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