Jan 31, 2019

BT pledges to forge ahead with 5G launch

Gavin Patterson has signed off as chief executive of BT with a pledge to forge ahead with 5G launches this year despite the furore surrounding Huawei, one of its key suppliers. As a result, BT said it expected that its full year earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation would be at the top end of its guidance range of between £7.3bn and £7.4bn. BT shares came under pressure after the group pointed to several challenges on the horizon including rising competition in the mobile market and a slowdown in its enterprise sales. Mr Patterson said it would be "Wrong" to prejudge the outcome of the government's review and that BT will persevere with its plan to roll out 5G equipment to the busiest parts of 16 UK cities this year. The telecoms company's shares have more than halved in the past three years as a deteriorating financial performance, an accounting scandal at its Italian business and concerns over heavy spending on pensions, sports rights and broadband investment have put off investors. Mr Patterson said the highlight of his five-and-a-half year tenure was the £12.5bn acquisition of EE. He said he would have moved more quickly to launch the overhaul of the company, which will see 13,000 jobs axed, in retrospect.

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