BT expected to keep prices high as it launches its own mobile network

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The great thing about competition is that it drives down prices for the consumer. And the great thing about consolidation is that it drives down prices for the consumer. These are two contradictory axioms that underscore modern capitalism. I mention them, as it seems this week, the consumer is about to get a raw deal again.

bt-centre

We’ve known it was going to happen for some time, but according to The Telegraph later this week BT will finally be officially launching “BT Mobile” – its first foray back into the mobile market since it sold the company that later became O2 15 years ago.

To make the network happen, BT Mobile will be a “mobile virtual network operator” (MVNO) – essentially leasing space on EE’s transmission network. (A bit like how the likes of Tesco Mobile have similar deals with various networks.)

What’s interesting about this is that the launch comes whilst the lawyers are still hammering out the paperwork for BT’s full acquisition of EE – a process that is expected to take over a year.

And here’s where things get annoying. According to The Telegraph article above, BT was planning to launch its mobile network offering big discounts to lure people over from the existing mobile kingpins, but now that it is half way through buying EE, it has apparently decided to not price BT Mobile too aggressively, so as to not hurt EE.

In other words, the mobile oligarchy is screwing you, the consumer.

We should really all know it by now: The trick to not feeling cheated when figuring out a new mobile deal is to go into the shop assuming you’re going to be somehow screwed over.

We’ll let you know the BT tariffs when the network launches – but don’t expect any surprises.

James O’Malley