BT/ EE MVNO partnership opens up new quad-play possibilities

The news that BT, the UK’s fixed line and broadband communications titan, is moving back into mobile through an MVNO partnership with the T-Mobile Orange joint venture EE, should allow BT to finally offer the so-called “quad-play” a communications package Holy Grail comprising fixed telephony, broadband, TV and mobile services, all in one.

And why EE rather than O2 or Vodafone? Essentially, the faster the mobile network the better. Only with 4G can TV be streamed to mobile devices without delay and loss of quality, and EE has been pretty to quick to roll out 4G services in the UK.

Streamed mobile video will be the next evolution of mobile broadband, which has come a long way since BT was last involved in offering mobile services some ten years ago (through the O2 network it then owned).

Even though the 3G auctions promised services such as mobile video calling and sports updates on the mobile device ten years ago, it was not until Apple and Google created proper mobile user-interfaces for the handset (around 2007) that mobile users have actually been able to really view mobile video content (until now largely downloaded, rather than streamed).

With 4G, most things that you get on a PC or TV are now possible on a smartphone. The interesting thing now is, what are people interested in, what sells, and how do you monetise it?

Though the availability of WiFi on handsets means that the mobile network can often be avoided altogether, this is only the case where WiFi it is available. BT’s MVNO partnership should allow the operator to extend its coverage for TV services offered under the BT Sport channel, while also offering mobile services. Sounds like a strategy to me, and better than a previous strategy to offer converged fixed/mobile services: BT Fusion. Anybody remember that?