BT Group PLC

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175px-BT logo.svg.png
Type: Public limited company
Industry: Telecommunications
Founded: London, UK, 1846
Founder(s): William Cooke
John Ricardo
Headquarters: 81 Newgate Street,
London EC1A 7AJ
Country: UK
Products: ISP, IP television, telecommunications
Employees: 128,100 (2010)[1]
Revenue: £20.91 billion (2010)
Key People
Sir Michael Rake, Chairman

Ian Livingston, CEO
Tony Chanmugam, Group Finance Director
Gavin Patterson, CEO BT Retail
Jillian Mertsch, VP US Gov Affairs

BT Group PLC, or British Telecom, is a London based company that offers telecommunication services worldwide. It currently operates in over 170 countries, and is the largest telecommunication services provider in the world.[2] The British Telecommunications Group is structured in a number of divisions, which include:

  • BT Global Services for business services and solutions
  • BT Wholesale - the core trunk network of wholesale telecoms
  • BT Retail - consumer oriented retail telecommunications services
  • BT Operate - responsible for the roll-out and maintenance of the IP based fixed-line network of BT, named 21C network
  • BT Design - IT designers from their other divisions united together to design services on the 21C network[3]

On March 31st, 2010, BT reported a revenue of 20.91 billion British pounds, which represented a reduction of 520 million British pounds in comparison to the previous fiscal year.[4]


BT Group is the oldest telecommunications services company in the world, founded in 1846 in London. The company was created alongside other important companies, like the Electric Telegraph Company, the first commercial telegraphy services. Some of the telecommunications companies from that time were taken over, some collapsed, and the remaining companies were merged and renamed into British Telecommunications. Still, British Telecommunications was transferred to state control, and placed under the supervison of the Post Office. Between 1869 and 1969 the name British Telecommunications was not present on the market; it was first under the General Post Office name, and in the second part of that period it was known as Post Office Telecommunications.

In 1980, a committee decided to rename the Post Office Telecommunications as British Telecom, but it still remained part of the Post Office. In 1981, two separate corporations were formed, taking away the responsibility for the telecommunications services from the Post Office. In 1982, the British government decided to sell 51% of the shares of British Telecom to private investors, in a privatization attempt. The operation went through in 1984. By the end of that year, all of the shares auctioned were sold to private investors. In December, 1991, the British Government reduced the shares they owned in British Telecom from 47.6% to 21.8%, selling the 26,8% of shares to interested investors. In July, 1993, British Telecom gained approximately 750,000 new shareholders as the British Government sold the remaining shares it had for the sum of 5 billion British pounds.

Given its new organizational structure, a new corporate identity and a new trading name were unveiled in April, 1991: British Telecom became BT, the name it still uses today.[5]

Modern Operations and Acquisitions

MCI Communication Corporation, the second largest carrier of long distance telecommunications services in the United States of America, together with the BT Group, launched a company named Concert Communications Services in 1994. The value of this newly founded company was $1 billion US dollars. The newly formed company was the first to offer a large portfolio of communications services to customers worldwide. As a part of the deal, BT Group bought 20% of MCI Communication Corporation. Later, MCI Communication Corporation and Concert Communication Services were bought by World Com for $7 billion US dollars. In the transaction, which took place in 1997, BT Group received $465 million US dollars to break the merger with MCI and an additional $2 billion US dollars for their shares of MCI.

AT&T and BT founded a new company named Concert in July, 1998, with each of them owning 50% of the newly formed company. After a slow growth of the telecommunication market, in November, 1999, AT&T and BT decided to cancel the Concert project, with each company getting a portion of the customers the new company already attracted.

In 2003, BT showed off new brand values and a new corporate identity. These new symbols are still being used today.

In 2004, BT launched Consult 21, an organization with the role of offering ideas for thei 21st Century Network project (21CN). The 21 CN project implies an Internet Protocol based network which allows people to communicate over different media, including home phone to personal computer communication.

In 2005, BT bought Albacom, the second largest telecommunication services provider on the Italian market. The same year they also bought Radianz, a financial services extranet provider, from Reuters, and a Californian telecommunications company named El Segundo.

In 2006, BT bought, an online electrical retailer. Later that year they announced that they would be investing 7.5 billion British pounds (75% of their total capital spendings for the next five years) in their 21 CN project. BT expects to save 1 billion British pounds yearly after the transition to the new network is complete.

In 2007, BT bought PlusNet, an Internet Service Provider from Sheffield. The same year BT also bought a software solutions and IT consulting company named International Network Services. Later that year BT bought a company that provided network services to the South American corporate market, named Comsat International.

In 2008, BT bought Wire One Communications, making them worldwide leaders in video conferencing solutions. The same year they bought a company from Mountain View, California named Ribbit.

In May, 2009, BT announced they have to cut 15,000 jobs after a poor financial year.[6]