EE CEO Marc Allera expects to fully integrate with parent company BT’s consumer arm within four years, in a move which “would create a £10 billion line of business”.
Following its £12.5 billion acquisition of EE in early 2016, BT kept the mobile operator largely separate from its consumer business, and the two brands continue to compete in the mobile, broadband and pay-TV markets.
Latest financial figures showed EE is leading the way, generating £5.1 billion in revenue during in the year to end-March, while BT consumer amassed £4.9 billion.
Speaking to Financial Times (FT), Allera maintained the strategy to operate the two groups separately had been right so far, but said he was excited by “the future opportunity as a group from bringing BT and EE together”.
“It is there in the back of our minds,” he said, adding: “Over the long term there are opportunities to make consumer routes to market simpler.”
Speculation BT would fully merge EE with its consumer business sooner rather than later recently heightened, FT reported.
Indeed, the mobile operator was positioned as the growth engine for BT in its group financial results announcement on 11 May.
The two began their integration process in January 2016, but the businesses have had limited crossover so far, despite distinct overlaps.
BT’s sport content has been offered to EE customers, while BT Broadband services are sold in EE’s retail stores.
Allera added a complex accounting scandal and profit warnings at BT’s Italian division had not affected strategy, with 5G central to the group’s mobile ambitions.