Marc Allera, CEO of BT Group’s consumer division (pictured), played down the potential impact of rival Vodafone UK’s recently-announced merger with 3 UK, as the company opened a new EE flagship store to showcase its growing retail presence.
During an event in London to show-off the new branch and provide details about its wider retail strategy, Allera addressed the long-mooted tie-up between Vodafone and CK Hutchison’s UK businesses, which if approved by regulators will create a bigger combined entity to compete with BT’s EE and VMO2.
Firstly, he noted EE itself was now years into its own integration with BT Group and “it was not easy”, highlighting challenges regarding different “cultures, consumers, products”.
With regards to increased competition, Allera was bullish, stating EE was “very far ahead in our journey and we are really strong in terms of our assets”.
On to the new flagship store in Westfield, London, the offering boasts a series of “connected spaces” to highlight the smart living concept. The company explained it saw the outlet as a physical manifestation of “the new EE”, which will see the brand reorient its emphasis from fixed and mobile broadband to emerging consumer technologies, particularly connected devices.
The store launch also “gives a feel of what’s to come”, Allera said, citing plans to move broadband products from BT to the consumer brand.
EE also showcased a set of interactive rooms including a smart kitchen, gaming area, and meditation room equipped with AR/XR devices. A showroom for devices and a “smart pod” which advises consumers on their purchases are also present.
Asif Aziz, retail director at BT Group told Mobile World Live some of the interactive rooms will also be available in other connected retail stores in Cardiff, Manchester Trafford Centre and Bluewater.
Furthermore, EE teased a new Wi-Fi broadband offering set to enter the market, which it claimed will be the UK’s fastest.