BT has announced an extension to its Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) agreement, using its EE network, with the UK supermarket chain ASDA.
The new deal will include access to 4G services for ASDA Mobile customers from the spring.
The agreement is an extension of the previous five-year contract signed by EE, now part of BT Group plc, in August 2014, and takes the exclusive contract to the end of 2020.
EE’s 4G coverage now reaches almost 75% of the UK’s landmass and it’s aimed to extend this to 95% of the country by 2020. ASDA Mobile expects to switch its customers across from 3G to 4G services during the spring.
Richard Phillips, VP of ASDA Mobile, said: ‘ASDA is delighted to extend our partnership with EE as it allows us to provide faster speeds and easier top ups for our customers. Combined with our award winning customer service and excellent value, ASDA Mobile becomes an even more compelling proposition for our customers.’
Gerry McQuade, CEO BT Wholesale & Ventures, said: ‘The strength and breadth of the EE 4G mobile network and our ability to provide excellent levels of customer service on a fully managed basis makes BT the ideal partner for ASDA Mobile. We’re very proud to have helped them achieve award winning levels of customer service and the move to 4G will only make them a stronger force to be reckoned with in the marketplace. With ASDA stores boasting a footfall of 19 million customers, we have a terrific opportunity to help ASDA Mobile to significantly grow its business and customer base.’
ASDA Mobile offers a range of Pay-as-you-Go and 30-day bundle pricing options, and BT will continue to deliver the underlying mobile infrastructure and services and a fully managed customer service solution which includes first and second line call centre services, registrations, top ups, billing services and a full mobile network services portfolio in the UK and when roaming.
As part of the new agreement, BT will for the first time provide ASDA Mobile with an automatic debit facility, which will allow PAYG customers to set up an alert to notify them when their credit is running low and automatically top up their credit by their chosen amount.
The agreement comes just a month after Virgin re-signed with EE, despite past concerns that the BT/EE merger would hamper competition. EE’s reluctance to participate in the MVNO market extended to denying its partners access to 4G, causing some partners such as The People’s Operator to switch networks. But the deal with ASDA seems to mark a change of approach on EE’s part, and more enthusiasm for retaining its MVNO partners.