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13 February 2020

BT announces U-turn, no longer limiting 5G to Halo customers

UK incumbent BT/EE had initially restricted its new 5G services to customers of its Halo fixed/mobile bundle, but after three months of commercial 5G availability, it has changed its mind and will open the new mobile options to anyone.

The initial policy was presumably designed to stimulate uptake of Halo, but even at launch, critics were pointing to the UK’s relatively low adoption of converged multiplay bundles, and BT ran the risk of falling behind Vodafone and O2 in market share (the smallest MNO, Three UK, also chose to have a restricted phase one, focusing initially on fixed wireless, to try to create its own fixed/mobile/video bundle).

BT said in an announcement: “BT today announced it is making its 5G plans available for all customers”, and added that its 5G services are now available in 50 towns and cities.

The statement from Pete Oliver, head of marketing for BT Consumer, made it seem that the telco was making the best of a mistaken launch strategy, saying: “Our BT Halo customers have been some of the first to enjoy 5G in the UK, and we’re now giving all of our customers the chance to get superfast, reliable mobile connections even in the busiest places.”