As people increasingly turn to their broadband for home working, home schooling and entertainment, BT has launched Halo3+, which it claims is the UK’s only “unbreakable” Wi-Fi connection for the home, backed up by the EE mobile network.
Citing independent research that shows 76% of UK consumers now value broadband reliability over speed and extra features, BT describes Halo 3+ as the latest innovation in the telco’s convergence story, capable of “redefining” home broadband reliability.
In its combination with EE mobile services, the BT Halo 3+ package is said to allow customers to experience the best of both fixed and wireless. BT claims that the new product is the first true example of convergence with the introduction of a UK first – the Hybrid Connect home device.
BT’s Hybrid Connect device works with the BT Smart Hub 2 to automatically connect to the EE mobile network for backup if required. It also works with BT Complete Wi-Fi, so whether connected to broadband or the EE network, customers will continue to receive a signal in hard-to-reach places in the home.
When the broadband connection is restored, it will automatically defer back to the fixed connection, minimising any interruption to internet use. Halo 3+ customers will receive an upgrade to BT Full Fibre where available and also obtain BT Complete Wi-Fi, which is said to give a reliable Wi-Fi signal in every room.
“With BT Halo 3+, we are launching an innovative new category of home broadband that’s truly a first of its kind in the UK,” said Christian Thrane, managing director of marketing, BT Consumer. “We are combining the best fibre home broadband and Wi-Fi technology, backed up with our award-winning EE mobile network to become the only UK provider that offers customers an unbreakable Wi-Fi connection in the home.
“BT Halo 3+ offers a super reliable service with the best connectivity for all corners of the home, giving the whole family peace of mind that they can work, home school or keep in touch with friends and family without interruptions.”
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Assessing the potential impact the new BT bundle will have in the new realm of hybrid working, Matthew Howett, principal analyst and founder of Assembly Research, said that the past 12 months have provided a reminder of the importance of fast, reliable broadband as people have taken to work, educate and entertain themselves at home.
“In its truest sense, convergence is about the coming together of fixed and mobile networks in a seamless way for the consumer,” said Howett. “The Hybrid Connect device is a great first step in the delivery of that vision, and works to reinforce the always-on promise at a time when households need uninterrupted connectivity more than ever.”
Paolo Pescatore, technology, media and telecoms analyst at PP Foresight, said the move by BT symbolised throwing down the gauntlet to rivals and that the eagerly awaited hybrid box was timely given that all users were demanding robust, reliable connections throughout the home. But he cautioned that making users aware of the vast merits of Halo still represented a monumental challenge.
“Lack of 5G is noticeable for a premium service that relies on offering the best connectivity,” he said. “When available, it will further strengthen the converged offering. It feels like BT is slowly moving towards one brand that will reduce costs, avoid consumer confusion and cannibalisation of revenue.”