updated 03:33 pm EDT, Mon May 13, 2013
Move would become second time BT creates a mobile network
British Telecom will be using the spectrum it picked up in the United Kingdom's 4G spectrum auction to start up its own 4G network. BT CEO Ian Livingston claims it is "highly possible" that BT-branded SIM cards could be issued out to customers by this time next year, with the cellular usage being paid for through current landline bills.
The interview in the Telegraph tells that the telecoms company has invited tenders from mobile operators to create a 4G partnership, but it would be only part of the plan. By providing 4G-enabled Wi-Fi hubs to its customers the company will be able to create a 4G network which would also provide better coverage in the homes than the Wi-Fi from their current generation of routers.
"We can build effectively an internal, very cheap 4G network," said Livingston, advising that the 4G signal from routers would lower the cost per "mast" for Internet service, with customers able to use the same 4G service when roaming around by using other customers' routers and public BT hot-spots upgraded with the new system. When away from routers, customers would then jump onto the 4G partnership network and use its spectrum instead.
This is not the first time that BT has dabbled with providing a cellular service. O2 was originally launched by BT as Cellnet, before later being rebranded as BT Cellnet, and then became O2 after being spun off from the main company. This historical tie could help O2 secure the 4G tender, though BT does currently have an existing partnership with Vodafone, providing 3G service to business customers.