Virgin Media and O2 have completed their £31 billion merger with a pledge to “upgrade” the UK with investment in fibre and 5G infrastructure.
Parent companies Liberty Global and Telefonica first agreed to combine their UK assets in 2020 and received final approval from competition authorities last month.
The deal is the largest ever in the UK telecoms market and Virgin Media O2 immediately becomes one of Europe’s largest providers, powering broadband, television, landline, and mobile services to nearly 40 million subscribers.
The enlarged company believes the combination of Virgin Media’s cable network, which covers more than 15 million premises, with O2’s mobile infrastructure will accelerate the development of converged network services and create a genuine nationwide challenger to BT.
Virgin Media O2 has promised to create 4,000 jobs and 1,000 apprenticeships to support these ambitions and has pledged to increase its fibre footprint by an additional one million premises within 12 months of the merger. Meanwhile, the rollout of O2’s 5G network will continue.
This convergence, the company says, will result in better quality connectivity for consumers and businesses and deliver innovative new products that aid the UK’s economic recovery following the pandemic. This includes private 5G networks and services to support hybrid working models.
“With the fastest broadband and most reliable mobile network in the UK today, Virgin Media O2 is the complete package,” declared Virgin Media O2 CEO Lutz Schüler, who held the same role at Virgin Media before the merger.
“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.”