The activities of BT Group added £740 million to the wider economy of Wales last year and supported nearly 8,500 jobs, according to a new report.
The report from consultancy firm Hatch looked at the spend of employees and suppliers of BT Group – which includes EE, BT, Plusnet and Openreach – and the estimated knock-on impact that has on economies across the country.
The report found that BT Group, the UK’s largest telecommunications company which employs nearly 5,000 people in Wales, made a direct contribution to the economy of Wales estimated at £490 million in the last financial year (2021/22). Through the company’s employees and its supply chain, and their subsequent spending, Hatch estimates the resulting boost to the economy of Wales came to a total of £740 million.
The company’s spending with suppliers based in Wales came to a total of £110 million. According to the study, BT Group’s combined activities supported a knock-on total of 8,490 jobs across Wales.
The report highlights BT Group’s presence across Wales and its current major investment in the rollout of full-fibre broadband and 5G across the country. It also profiles the range of activities by BT Group colleagues across the country, from the volunteers helping care home residents avoid isolation and loneliness, to the innovative trials taking place in Wales to use 5G technology to help improve learning and skills for pupils and students living in rural areas.
BT Group is also transforming its offices and contact centres across the UK. The company is due to open a brand-new office and regional hub at No3 Capital Quarter in Cardiff later in 2023. The company’s contact centre is Bangor has received a major refurbishment as part of the programme and the EE Merthyr Tydfil centre will undergo a similar refurbishment in the coming year.
It is part of the company’s Better Workplace Programme, one of the largest workplace improvement schemes of its type ever undertaken in the UK. The five-year programme will see the company shift from having around 300 locations in the UK to around 30, with a focus on creating new, modern workspaces.
Philip Jansen, Chief Executive of BT Group, said:
“BT Group plays a vital role at the heart of the Welsh economy. We’re one of only a handful of companies that serves customers in every corner of the country.
“We’ve continued our major investment in building next generation full fibre and mobile connectivity rapidly across the UK. We’ve already reached 9.6 million premises with full fibre, and our 5G mobile network now reaches 60% of the UK population. The benefits to families and businesses are huge: new jobs, economic growth and innovation, across every nation and region.
“We’re also transforming BT Group so that we’re fit to power the Welsh economy of the future. Our new state-of-the-art offices, spread across the UK, are a central part of that, bringing colleagues together in brilliant spaces that will enable collaboration and help us to better serve our customers.”
The Group, via its digital network business Openreach, is already delivering ultrafast full-fibre broadband across Wales, while its mobile business EE is a leader on mobile coverage. Its 5G network has now expanded to cities and towns across Wales and its 4G network has now reached 85% of Wales’s geography, putting it ahead of the other mobile networks.