Representing the biggest UK merger in a decade and the largest UK telecoms deal ever, the new joint venture between Liberty Global and Telefónica opens at a time when connectivity has never been more critical and as the UK recovers and rebuilds from the global pandemic. Today, new CEO Lutz Schüler sets out a vision to ‘upgrade the UK’ through investment in fibre and 5G infrastructure, innovation, and a seamless mix of the best products and services in the market.
The new business becomes one of the UK’s largest, with 47 million connections across broadband, mobile, TV and home phone, and offers connectivity services, applications and digital solutions to tens of thousands of UK businesses and public sector organisations. It employs around 18,000 people and reported equivalent revenues of £11bn last year.
Speaking at the launch of the new company, Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media O2, said:
“With the fastest broadband and most reliable mobile network in the UK today, Virgin Media O2 is the complete package. 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.”
Upgrading the nation with investment & innovation
As connectivity powers the nation through the pandemic and into the future, Virgin Media O2 will bring together next-generation gigabit broadband and 5G services while expanding its network reach across the country.
The company has committed to invest at least £10bn over the next 5 years in the UK. This investment will see the business contribute even more to the Government’s connectivity targets – upgrading infrastructure in more parts of the country and bringing greater choice and competition to many areas that need it most.
Since the merger was announced in May 2020, Virgin Media has increased its number of UK jobs and, by the end of this year, the new joint business will have created almost 2000 new UK roles. To bring new opportunities to people across the nation the company will also create 1,000 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 & service
Virgin Media O2 will bring real choice and convenience to the people and businesses of Britain and will become the nation’s first fully converged competitor at scale delivering even greater value, quality, and innovation.
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, under one roof, later this year. With clear responsibility at the very the top of the organisation, 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 are set to 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 & planet
Virgin Media and O2 share a strong track record in driving positive change for people, communities and our planet. Virgin Media O2 is committed to using 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 today confirms its ambition to achieve net zero carbon operations (scopes 1 & 2) by the end of 2025.