Virgin Media and O2 announced this morning that they are joining forces to create a vast new network that will rival BT. This 50-50 joint venture will bring together Virgin Media's fast fiber broadband and O2's broad mobile network, which now offers 5G speeds in many parts of the UK.
Virgin and O2 say that by bringing their platforms together, consumers will enjoy the highest quality customer experience possible, with superior connectivity and entertainment, inside and outside the home.
The combination of the networks also creates a stronger fixed and mobile competitor in the UK market, supporting Virgin Media's expansion of the gig-ready network and O2's 5G mobile deployment for the benefit of consumers, businesses and the public sector.
BT already has its joint broadband and mobile offerings with the company that buys EE in 2016. This has allowed to increase customer connectivity and offer easy access to both services in the high street stores, now providing BT and EE services and support .
It is unclear how O2 and Virgin Media customers will benefit from the new venture, but companies are now likely to offer mobile and broadband in bundles, which could help consumers pay lower prices and simplicity with an invoice monthly.
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Speaking about the update, Telefonica CEO Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete said: “The combination of O2’s mobile business number with Virgin Media’s broadband network and broadband services will be a turning point in the UK, at a time when the demand for connectivity has never been greater or more critical.
"We are creating a strong competitor with significant scale and financial strength to invest in the UK's digital infrastructure and offer millions of consumers, businesses and public sector customers more options and value.
"This is a time of pride and excitement for our organizations as we have created a leading provider of integrated communications in the UK".
And Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global, said: "We couldn't be more excited about this combination. Virgin Media has redefined broadband and entertainment in the UK with extremely fast speeds and the most innovative video platform. And O2 is widely recognized as the UK's most trusted and admired mobile operator, always putting the customer first.
"With Virgin Media and O2 together, the future of convergence is here today. We saw the benefit of FMC firsthand in Belgium and the Netherlands. When the power of 5G meets 1 gig of broadband, consumers and businesses from the UK will never look We are committed to this market and we are well behind the government's connectivity and digital goals. ”
O2 is already the largest telephone company in the United Kingdom, with around 34 million users, and Virgin Media has about six million customers who access TV and broadband through the company.