Airship

BT Chief Talks Up Company's 5G Credentials

Andy Penfold

BT's CEO says he expects his company to be central to a UK rollout of 5G services, which he says will arrive "around 2020".

Speaking at a keynote session at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Gavin Patterson said BT's acquisition of EE for £13bn last year was a "transformative deal".

“We can take full advantage of the exponential consumption of data,” he said. “Fixed has sheer processing power, while mobile has flexibility. We offer the best of both worlds.”

Patterson also said he wanted to drive forward "fixed-mobile convergence" (FMC) in the UK.

Claiming that the UK is the most internet-dependent economy in the G20, Patterson said the UK nonetheless lags behind countries such as Portugal, Spain and Germany when it comes to FMC.

“The crossover between mobile and fixed is much more developed in those countries, where one or more operators generally have both mobile and fixed operations,” he said.

“We can take full advantage of the exponential consumption of data,” he said. “Fixed has sheer processing power, while mobile has flexibility. We offer the best of both worlds.”

Patterson also hinted that BT could invest more in broadband, ahead of Ofcom's report that could see BT stripped of control over Openreach, its network division. “Our investments in the next generation of fibre is something we are looking to bring to market in the next three to six months,” he said, adding that the suggestion the UK government could provide the cash for such an upgrade was "farcical".

Ofcom is set to reveal its proposals tomorrow.