A new report today tells us that BT's mobile arm, EE, has become the first British operator to bundle Apple Music with mobile contracts in a move designed to increase subscriber loyalty and help the iPhone maker's music streaming app challenge Spotify. The giveaway has reportedly enraged rival Virgin Media, which pays more than £120m per year for wholesale access to BT Sport.
Today's Telegraph report states that BT's EE service "will be offered free for six months with a new contract to EE pay monthly customers, double the three-month free trial otherwise provided by Apple. Afterwards users will pay the normal subscription charge, currently £9.99, via their mobile bill.
The deal is the latest in a push by EE to bundle media services with mobile subscriptions. It follows earlier moves by Vodafone, which offers six months of free access to Spotify or Sky Sports with new contracts.
EE has created a video promoting the deal with Kevin Bacon and Singer Britney Spears who will be performing at the Apple Music festival next month in London.
The Financial Times informs us that the "EE is the largest mobile carrier in Britain, with 27 million consumers on its network, giving Apple Music a wide pool of potential customers. It could accelerate its push into streaming after it built a base of 15 million paying users, about half the number of Spotify.
Apple has previously teamed up with mobile companies to promote the iPhone when selected networks won lucrative exclusive deals to sell the handset. For music, it has a similar promotion with Telstra in Australia, although rumours have surfaced of an exclusive deal with Deutsche Telekom in Germany in the past week, which would suggest a wider push to work with the largest operators in each region."
The report further noted that "Marc Allera, chief executive of EE, has high expectations for the exclusive deal with Apple Music, noting that the amount of music streamed over its network has risen 41 per cent in the past three years.
'If people spend 60 to 90 minutes commuting they stream more video and music then than at any other time,' he said. He also said that Spotify would still be available over EE but that Apple Music would be the 'main pillar' of its music strategy."
EE is the UK's most advanced digital communications company, with superfast 4G mobile and Fibre Broadband services. In 2015 EE joined the BT Group, home of BT Sport, BT Infinity superfast fibre optic broadband, and the UK's biggest fixed communications network.