BT has confirmed that it has reached an agreement for the purchase of mobile network EE for £12.5 billion. Negotiations between the two companies were revealed last December, when BT announced its plan to make an offer for the UK’s largest carrier.
The move will see BT pay cash and shares to EE’s owners Deutsche Telekom and Orange. The latter will take a 4% stake in BT, while the former will get a larger 12% share.
Although an agreement has been reached, there is still a long way to go before everything is completed and EE customers start to notice changes. BT reckons it will have cleared all the required regulatory checks by the end of 2015 or early 2016.
That, of course, depends on how Ofcom and the competition watchdog view one of the UK’s largest landline, TV and broadband providers buying out the country’s biggest mobile network.
In light of Three owner Hutchison Whampoa’s plans to buy O2, regulators are likely to have plenty of questions about whether such a deal will prove costly for consumers.
BT CEO Gavin Patterson said: “Consumers and businesses will benefit from new products and services as well as from increased investment and innovation.”
However, with the UK set to have three major networks rather than four, the lack of competition will have some worried that prices are set to go up.