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BT and EE make first combined move with sport app promotion

EE BT Sport - Rio Ferdinand & Kevin Bacon

One of the first fruits of the BTEE mega-merger has been borne with mobile operator EE offering six months free access to the BT Sport app to all its pay-monthly customers.

In the initial aftermath of the merger, BT opted to keep the operations and brands separate, even going so far as to refresh its own MVNO offering despite now being the largest mobile operator via EE. The thinking was that EE is the stronger mobile brand and if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

However it was inevitable that BT would begin to experiment with ways in which the two operations could help each other out commercially and this is the first. BT broadband subscribers get access to a couple of BT Sport subscription channels, which form a significant part of the bundle for many as BT has invested heavily in things like Champions League football and top-flight Rugby, as well as the app for watching on the go.

Now any EE customer gets six months free access to the BT Sport app with no apparent strings attached. BT says this is just the first of a bunch of offers set to be unveiled and leaves open the possibility of BT eventually presenting a ‘super-bundle’, offering the best of BT and EE for a single subscription.

“Our customers have been telling us for a long time that they are watching more and more sport on the go, and this summer’s European Championship football tournament has driven traffic peaks that we’ve never seen before,” said EE CEO Marc Allera.

“Now, as part of BT Group, we are able to offer customers the chance to watch the very best in live domestic and European sport when out and about. With our ambition to reach 95% of the geography of the UK by 2020, EE customers will be able to watch Premier League football while on Hackney Marshes, or the America’s Cup in the middle of Lake Windermere.”

“Fundamentally, we cannot overstate the importance of this deal as BT Sport continues to grow from strength to strength,” said Analyst Paolo Pescatore of CCS Insight. “Within months of launching BT Sport added millions and now three years on, its potential audience will grow to more than 15 million. This is a significant achievement within a short period of time.

“Timing could not be any better in light of the new Premier League season and we are expecting a busy second half of the year with Sky’s entry to mobile, Vodafone into TV and Virgin Media’s new set-top-box. Let battle commence, but Sky’s close relationship with content and rights owners still puts it in a far stronger position over its competitors.”

This promotion is set to move to a £5 monthly rolling contract at the end of the offer period but it wouldn’t be surprising to see it extended indefinitely. As Pescatore indicated the real battle here is for the UK multiplay market, with competitors such as Sky still holding some distinct advantages. A fully converged BT + EE offering has the potential to dominate, but BT will be hesitant to cannibalise too many of its own revenue streams too quickly.

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