BT planning 4G network, could team up with O2 against EE

BT is planning a 4G network of its own -- maybe even teaming up with old friends O2 to take on EE, Vodafone and other mobile rivals.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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BT is looking to join forces with a mobile phone network to build a 4G network of its own -- maybe even teaming up with old buddy O2 to take on EE, Vodafone and other mobile rivals.

"It makes sense for us to explore the new opportunities that 4G presents," says BT, talking to the FT. BT is calling for bids by mobile networks to supply their both normal and business customers, as well as staff, with extra-fast mobile service.

The frontrunner is reported to be O2 -- which, as BT Cellnet, used to be part of BT until it split off in 2001. O2 didn't buy any high-frequency LTE spectrum in the recent 4G auction, but BT surprised everyone by snapping up almost £200m of LTE airwaves.

Should BT go 4G, it will join up the gaps between BT's network of Wi-Fi hotspots and home broadband services, allowing you to connect to the Web and maybe even stream BT TV wherever you are.

BT does have a small mobile network, including mobile contracts for business customers. Previously run by Vodafone, the service is up for grabs again with Vodafone, EE and O2 all in the running.

The only 4G option right now is EE, the network formed by the merger of Orange and T-Mobile. EE got a headstart by using spare airwaves rather than waiting for the 4G auction -- but now the 4G spectrum has been divvied up, rivals Vodafone and O2 are very close to launching their own services. Only Three is relaxed about 4G, promising that 4G won't cost extra.

Do you think BT should go 4G, or should it stick to landlines and broadband? Are you excited about 4G? Who's going to get your money? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.