What happens if BT launches mobile?

Something’s afoot in the telecoms industry. A big beast is stirring, and the smaller critters don’t like it. Let’s dispense with the children’s fiction metaphors - according to Reuters, BT’s getting ready to embark on an initiative that could very well blur the lines between mobile carriers and fixed-line services.

So-called multi-play or 'quad-play' service - bundles that combine TV, broadband and phone bundles for one monthly cost - are par for the course in European countries like France and Spain. Virgin Media already offers these bundles over here, but wide-spread integration has yet to occur in the UK. However, BT is rumoured to be launching its own broadband, TV and mobile bundles.

The company's CEO Gavin Patterson recently declared that BT will re-enter the mobile phone market in the first half of 2015 with an "inside out" strategy.

That means combining domestic data, media and voice services with Wi-Fi and wireless roaming using the fixed-line and mobile assets BT already controls. That fact is what's sending frissons of anxiety throughout the market.

Some believe that BT could slash its mobile subscriber cost from the £14 - £20 that mobile competitors currently have, to a mere £5 a month. As one industry banker said to Reuters: "everyone is terrified of what BT is going to do." By undercutting prices on this scale, he said: "they could seriously do some damage."

Of course, while BT has a lot of clout, it's not the only company getting into quad-play. The recent launch of EE TV means the provider's poised to offer its own broadband, mobile and TV bundles too, and TalkTalk already sells mobile services to customers separately, so it's not impossible that they may try to bundle up too.

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