Virgin Media O2 launches with sights set on upgrading the UK
Virgin Media O2 has launched with a commitment to power the UK’s recovery and create unbeatable choice for consumers and businesses.
Representing the biggest UK merger in a decade and the largest UK telecoms deal ever, the new joint venture between Liberty Global and Telefónica has launched at a time when connectivity has never been more critical and as the UK recovers and rebuilds from the global pandemic.
Virgin Media O2 has also become one of the UK’s largest, with 47 million connections across broadband, mobile, TV and home phone. It also offers connectivity services, applications and digital solutions to tens of thousands of UK businesses and public sector organisations. The new joint venture employs around 18,000 people and reported equivalent revenues of £11bn last year.
The company’s CEO, Lutz Schüler, has set out a vision to ‘upgrade the UK’ through investment in fibre and 5G infrastructure, innovation, and a combination of the best products and services in the market: “We are ready to shake up the market and be the competitor the country needs at a time when choice has never been more important. Through investment and innovation in cutting-edge infrastructure and future technology, we will connect more people to the things they love, support communities across the country, help businesses to grow, and power the UK economy.
“With no limit to our ambition, we’re here to upgrade the UK – and our mission starts today,” he said.
The new business has outlined three ways it plans to upgrade the UK:
Investment and innovation: Virgin Media O2 will bring together next-generation gigabit broadband and 5G services while expanding its network reach across the country. The company will also invest at least £10bn over the next 5 years in the UK – contributing even more to the Government’s connectivity targets by upgrading infrastructure in more parts of the country and bringing greater choice and competition to many areas that need it most. By the end of 2021, the joint venture will have also created almost 2000 new UK jobs and 1,000 new apprenticeships.
Virgin Media O2 is already the nation’s largest gigabit broadband operator and will deliver these speeds across its entire network by the end of the year. Building on the success of its existing fibre network expansion activity, the business is planning to go further and faster by deploying fibre to millions of additional homes across the country. A variety of options, including potential partnerships, are currently being worked on to achieve this. Coupled with this, the company will continue to cement its leadership status in reliability and quality mobile coverage by utilising its increased spectrum holding and bringing 5G services to new areas across the nation – including around 200 towns and cities by the end of June.
Customer choice and service: Virgin Media O2 is set to bring real choice and convenience to the people and businesses of Britain. While there is no change to existing services today, plans are well underway to offer seamless broadband, entertainment and mobile services all in one place later this year. The new business will also put customer service at the heart of its offering with increased investment in digital tools and more customer care roles in the UK.
Through a dedicated function, business and public sector customers will also benefit from a richer suite of products and collective expertise from Virgin Media O2 Business. This includes a variety of managed connectivity services and flexible working capabilities, security, data insight, 5G private networks and cloud solutions, as well as wholesale services to other operators and partners. It comes as many organisations undergo a permanent shift to hybrid working models, playing a central role in the expected economic ramp up over the coming year.
Positive change for people and planet: Virgin Media and O2 share a strong track record in driving positive change for people, communities and our planet. Combing this experience, Virgin Media O2 will use the power of connectivity to supercharge communities across the UK, taking action to close the digital divide and helping to build an inclusive, resilient and low carbon economy.
As part of this commitment, the business has today confirmed its ambition to achieve net zero carbon operations by the end of 2025.