Virgin Media O2 Company Brief

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Company Brief
Virgin Media O2

by Faulkner Staff

Docid: 00018488

Publication Date: 2109

Report Type: VENDOR


Virgin Media O2 was formed in June 2021 as a 50-50 joint venture combining
Liberty Global’ Virgin Media and Telefonica’ O2 UK businesses. The combined
operation provides 47 million broadband, mobile, TV, and landline connections
throughout the Great Britain, with its fixed network extending to 15.5 million
premises and a mobile 4G network covering 99 percent of the nation’ population
plus nearly 200 locations with 5G services. While both entities continue to
provide their respective connectivity and networking services to consumers for
the time being, Virgin Media O2 promises new offerings including next-generation
gigabit broadband and expanded 5G services.

Report Contents:

Fast Facts

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Name: Virgin Media O2
260 Bath Road
Phone: +44 (0) 113 272 2000

Type of Vendor: Mobile, Fixed, and Broadband Services
Founded: 2021
Service Area: UK
Number of Employees: 18,000


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Virgin Media O2 is the latest iteration of Telefonica operations in Europe
outside of its Spanish base.

In May 2001 BT Group announced that it would demerge what would become O2
as part of a reorganization process. The spun-off business became
independent with a number of subsidiaries, which BT had amassed over the
previous 15 years. In September 2001, O2 announced that its consolidation
process included the launch of a new brand name used by all of the
company’s divisions: O2. In May 2002, it officially launched the brand in
the UK, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the Isle of Man.

Telefonica purchased O2 for 17.7 million GBP in January 2006. The company
delisted from the London Stock Exchange in March. In June 2006, O2 UK
purchased be, a UK broadband provider, for 50 million GBP. In
August of that year Telefonica combined its two subsidiaries, Cesky
Telecom and Eurotel, to form Telefonica O2 Czech Republic. Telefonica
later consolidated all of its European wireless units and subsidiaries
outside of Spain into Telefonica O2 Europe, while parent company
Telefonica’s other divisions became known as Telefonica Espana and
Telefonica Latinoamerica. Telefonica O2 Slovakia opened its network in
2007, marking O2’s entry into its fifth wireless market.

In June 2013, Telefonica announced it had agreed to sell its O2 Ireland
mobile business for 780 million euros (US$1 billion) in cash to Hutchison
Whampoa’s local unit 3 Ireland. The terms of the deal included the phasing
out of the O2 brand. The company completed the sale in July 2014.

Telefonica announced in November 2013 that it agreed to sell 65.9 percent
of Telefonica Czech Republic, of which it owned 70.8 percent, to PPF Group
N.V. for 2,467 million euros (US$3.17 billion). Telefonica will maintain a
stake of 4.9 percent in Telefonica Czech Republic, remaining its industrial
and commercial partner for the next four years. In October of 2014, Telefonica Deutschland completed its acquisition of E-Plus Group from the
Dutch company KPN.

In May 2016, the European Commission blocked CK Hutchison’s intent to
take over Telefonica’s O2 in the UK. Also in 2016, Telefonica Business
Solutions and Red Hat Inc. formed an agreement establishing Red Hat
Mobile Application Platform as the global reference platform for operators
within the Telefonica Group. The company reported that it had more than
322 million total accesses by March 2016; more than 246.85 million mobile
phones accesses; 39.35 million fixed telephony accesses; more than 21.48
million Internet and data accesses; and 8.36 million pay TV accesses. In
2017, the company saw its chief digital officer and sales director leave
in the wake of the failed acquisition attempt. Telefonica Germany
successfully integrated the voice standard Enhanced Voice Services (EVS)
into its national LTE network in August 2018.

In May 2020, Telefonica and Liberty Global unveiled an agreement to merge
their UK operations in a 50-50 joint venture to combine Liberty Global’ Virgin
Media fixed operations with Telefonica’ O2 mobile network. The combined
operation provides 47 million broadband, mobile, television, and landline
connections throughout the UK. The firm’ fixed network reaches 15.5 million
premises and its mobile 4G network covers 99 percent of the nation’ population.
Nearly 200 towns and locations are able to access its 5G network with the
company offering a greater expansion in the coming months.

After initial concerns from the UK’ Competition and Markets Authority
(CMA), the regulator determined that the proposed merger was unlikely to lessen
competition in the supply of wholesale services. Formalized on June 1, 2021, the
new entity reported an equivalent annual revenue of $15.6 billion and employs
18,000 workers. Company leaders have committed to invest nearly $15 billion in
its UK operations over the next five years, including adding 2,000 new positions
by 2022.

Key Executives

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  • Chairman of the Board–Mike Fries
  • Chief Executive Officer–Lutz Schüler
  • Chief Financial Officer–Patricia Cobian
  • Chief Operating Officer, TV, Broadband & FMC–Jeff Dodds
  • Chief Commercial Officer, Mobile–Gareth Turpin
  • Managing Director, Business & Wholesale–Jo Bertram
  • Managing Director, Fixed Network Expansion–Rob Evans
  • Chief Technology Officer–Jeanie York
  • Chief Information Officer–Adrian Di Meo
  • Chief Communications & Corporate Affairs Officer–Nicola Green
  • General Counsel & Chief Regulatory Officer–Enrique Medina Malo
  • Chief Digital Officer–Kay Schwabedal
  • Chief People & Transformation Officer–Philipp Wohland

Major Services

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Virgin Media O2 provides integrated mobile, fixed, and broadband services
to 47 million customers in the UK. Table 1 outlines the
company’s service offerings.

Table 1. Services
Category Description

Voice and Unified Communications

Voice includes:

  • Landlines
  • Mobiles
  • IP voice services

Unified Communications services include:

  • Video calling
  • Telemarketing Numbers
  • Messaging
  • Managed IPT (Internet Protocol Telephony) allows voice
    traffic over Internet
  • SIP Trunking solution
  • Managed PBX 

Managed Mobility offers:

  • Management of all devices connected to a network via IT and


Customer Engagement

  • Messaging services: text, voice, and multimedia
  • Smart Steps crowd analytics
  • Priority Moments digital loyalty program
  • O2 Wifi: Free (to anyone, regardless of broadband contract),
    fast, reliable, and easy-to-use service available in thousands
    of locations

Security includes:

  • Ability to monitor all devices that are connecting to a
  • Stops any unauthorized access
  • Provides secure access to live business information
  • Managed service tailored to user’s security and control,
    with end-to-end device monitoring and reporting on a single
    application dashboard

Made-to-Measure Apps:

  • Consultants work with customers to design and build custom
  • Device compatibility is ensured

Data & Connectivity

Business Broadband offers:

  • Plug and play O2 router provides remote support
  • SLA for user connection fixes, with an enhanced care option
    for critical locations
  • Supported migration from user’s existing service 
  • 24×7 UK technical support 
  • Single point of contact for all fixed line services 
  • Support for IT department or end users
  • Bulk purchase and provision

Connectivity includes:

  • Managed LAN Service, from design to implementation to
  • Managed WAN Service combines professional services, managed
    services, and connectivity
  • High Speed Datalink allows users to increase connection
    speed with addition of mobile devices and apps
  • Digital Link connects multiple sites with secure capacity
  • Virtual Private Network allows sites to communicate and
    share data securely and seamlessly
Infrastructure Services include:

  • Data Center 
  • Cloud 
  • Hosting
  • Security
  • Storage
  • Mobility (i.e. phones and tablets)
  • Logistics

Major Competitors

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Virgin Media O2′ competition is from other large communications service
providers. Major competitors are listed below.

Recent Activity

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Following the Competition and Markets Authority’ confirmation of the new
entity, Virgin Media CEO Lutz Schuler was named chief executive, while O2′
chief financial officer Patricia Cobian was appointed CFO.

In July, the firm
partnered with Ericsson to have its 4G, 5G non-standalone, and 5G standalone
services hosted on Ericsson cloud infrastructure in Virgin Media O2′ data
centers. The transition is aimed to provide greater gigabit connectivity,
ultra-low latency, and increased data handling for virtual reality, augmented
reality, and other immersive data uses.

In September 2021, Virgin Media O2 announced it would launch its first IPTV
(Internet television) offering by the end of the year.


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