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BT share price: Telco worried Big Tech could take away customers

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BT Group (LON:BT.A) is warning of a near future in which telecom operators’ connections to households and businesses are usurped by companies such as Amazon, Apple and Alphabet’s Google, Bloomberg has reported. The comments come as the former telecoms monopoly continues to search for a new chief executive to replace Gavin Patterson.

BT’s share price has been steady in London this morning, having inched 0.13 percent higher to 228.00p as of 10:27 BST. The stock is outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.66 percent lower at 7,369.30 points. The group’s shares have lost more than 18 percent of their value over the past year, as compared with about a two-percent dip in the Footsie.

BT flags Big Tech worries

Bloomberg reported that Cathryn Ross, director of regulatory affairs at BT, had said telecoms services were “increasingly integrated into wider competing ecosystems based around platforms”.

“In this world, the end-customer might not have a relationship with the connectivity provider, but might have a relationship instead with, say, Apple or Google or Amazon, who would provide connectivity as part of a wider bundle,” Ross said this week in a lecture at the Institute of Directors in London attended by industry figures, regulators, economists and lawyers. The remarks underscore telecoms’ worries that Big Tech could next buy up and resell conventional network access, adding data packages to video subscriptions, music and other content in one bill.

Analysts sceptical

Bloomberg quoted James Barford at Enders Analysis as commenting that part of the interface had ‘definitely been taken over,’ referring to the popularity of Apple’s Facetime video calling. He, however, noted that he was still sceptical that companies such as Facebook or Google wanted to invest heavily in taking consumer relationships.

“How much of an appetite do they have for someone calling them up and wanting to know how to plug their router in?,” he told the newswire.

As of 10:44 BST, Friday, 05 October, BT Group plc share price is 228.90p.

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