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BT to make EE its main brand

Greg Devine

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2FF mini SIM card with precut micro and nano sizes and 5G letters on gray background

Two huge brands that everyone in the UK knows—BT and EE—are essentially one entity. That they are one and the same will now be widely publicised, as BT has announced that they plan to promote EE as the organisation’s consumer-facing brand.


This doesn’t mean BT is disappearing. The move is more of an admittance that landlines are no longer used by households throughout Britain in the way they once were. As a consequence, there’s not the same need for the BT brand anymore; focusing on EE and mobile phones, therefore, makes perfect sense for the company. The BT brand will continue for BT Sport, and BT Openreach will operate as normal.


The conglomerate will sell broadband through both BT and EE. You may wonder why they would bother doing this, but the move will make more sense in coming years. For starters, you may have noticed a new style of broadband promoted recently, with the claim that it’s ‘unbreakable’. This is because BT’s wi-fi now works in tandem with EE’s 5G network, to not only boost download/upload speeds, but to also guarantee connectivity at all times. I believe it’s this initiative that’s seen BT focus on its EE brand. (The parent group also owns Plusnet—its value brand—which will operate in the same way as before.)


EE was originally formed through a merger between France’s Orange and Germany’s T-Mobile, and it was bought by BT in 2016 for £12.5bn. At the time, the UKs largest broadband and landline provider also owned the UK’s second biggest mobile phone provider. Though I know of BT historically, EE seems the larger company, in my opinion. Personally, as someone on the precipice of my twenties, I’ve never used BT; however, I have been a customer of EE ever since its incarnation from Orange.

Close up of red telephone box with crack in glass

Close up of red telephone box with crack in glass

You see more EE promotions than BT adverts these days, too. I’m sure everyone reading this has heard or seen Kevin Bacon talking about EE’s superfast mobile network, whereas I’d struggle to think of a recent BT ad or promotion. The CEO of BT’s Global Services, Bas Burger, describes EE as a service for consumers and BT as a product for businesses, globally.


This just confirms the end of landline phones for me. The only people I know who still use them are my grandparents, and even then, they have mobile phones. I’ll often just ring their mobiles instead of the house phone. In this regard, it makes complete sense to push the EE brand over BT…why try to sell mobile phones under the BT name when EE is already an established brand? In fact, it’s not just established, it’s the second largest mobile phone company in the UK.


It’s not uncommon for businesses to acquire/merge with other businesses, and there’s the potential for sister brands to become confused with each other as a result. The John-Lewis partnership is a good example of when it’s done correctly. Most people know that John-Lewis and Waitrose are owned by the same company, but it’s difficult to confuse these brands, which is how it should be. I think that’s what BT is trying to do with EE—they’re trying to remove all confusion. They’re trying to make it clear that BT and EE are the same company, but that they offer very different things.

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