BT share price: John Petter rejects calls for Openreach spin-off

on Mar 18, 2015
Updated: Oct 21, 2019

BT Group Plc’s (LON:BT.A) consumer chief John Petter has dismissed calls from rivals that the company should be broken up by the UK government. Speaking at an Enders Analysis event Petter suggested that such calls are threatening investment in the UK’s broadband infrastructure.

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The Telegraph quoted Petter as saying: “I think instead of sniping from the sidelines and relentlessly pushing for lower wholesale input prices, that our industry should be working together to invest to give consumers the service standards that they deserve.”
BT’s attack follows an Ofcom review of the UK’s telecoms market, launched last week. The announcement was used by rivals, including TalkTalk and Sky (LON:SKY), to once again press for a spin-off of BT Openreach, BT’s infrastructure division, into a new, completely independent company.
Petter argued that breaking up BT would be a “huge mistake” that would have a limiting effect on investment in superfast broadband in the UK. He noted that the retail division of the company acted as a guaranteed customer for Openreach.Petter pointed to countries, where structural separation of the former state monopoly has been conducted, such as New Zealand, that have experienced higher broadband prices and lower investment.
The executive also touched upon the frequent criticism directed a tOpenreach’s customer service, admitting that the service is not perfect, but also noting that it had improved significantly. He praised Openreach engineers for doing “an amazing job in very difficult conditions”.
In today’s trading, BT shares were down 0.5 percent at 451.30p, as of 10:06 UTC. The stock has advanced 12.4 percent since the start of the year. The group’s market capitalisation currently stands at £37.8 billion.
As of 13:06 GMT, Wednesday, 18 March, BT Group plc share price is 453.30p.


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