BT's new technology chief to help with EE integration

BT appointed a new chief of technology who brings with him experience of integrating networks from his time in the cable industry -- experience that will prove useful as BT integrates its network with that of EE, the UK telco said.

Howard Watson, currently BT's chief architect and MD of global IT platforms, is to become the new CEO of BT Technology, Service and Operations (BT TSO) and group chief information officer. He replaces Clive Selley, who has been appointed CEO of Openreach with effect from this quarter.

Watson joined BT in 2011 and prior to that held various posts including at cable operators Telewest and Virgin Media.

BT group CEO Gavin Patterson noted that Watson is "absolutely the right man to oversee the integration of our network with EE's."

"Fixed mobile convergence is an important trend and Howard will help consumers and businesses take advantage of it," Patterson added.

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last week cleared BT's planned £12.5 billion (€16 billion/$17.7 billion) acquisition of EE from Orange and Deutsche Telekom.

The merger will see the creation of a fixed and mobile giant on the UK market, combining BT's broadband and fixed-line business with EE's mobile network. EE itself is already a combination of the UK mobile units of Orange and Deutsche Telekom and has focused on 4G services since launch. BT also sells mobile services under BT Mobile, but on a relatively limited basis.

Reactions to the merger by industry and the analyst have been mixed, with some fearing there will be less competition on the market leading to an increase in prices.

There is also still considerable speculation over what the combined company will be called, and whether or not the EE brand will be retained. Some analysts such as Kester Mann from CCS Insight believe it is "inevitable" that BT will drop the EE brand over time, while other reports suggest it will be retained.

IDC is one company to have come up with a proposed new name: "Our modest (and perhaps not entirely serious) suggestion: BeeTee," the research company said.

For more:
- see the BT release
- see this IDC comment

Related articles:
Report: O2 and Three set to face tough EC conditions for UK merger
BT to close EE deal in January after winning approval from the CMA
Ofcom CEO warns of higher prices if Three UK/O2 UK merger is cleared
European Commission takes a tough line on MNO consolidation- Year in Review
Ofcom delays spectrum auction following O2/Three legal threat

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