Tuesday 1 June 2021 7:46 am

Virgin Media O2 promises market shake-up after £31bn merger

Virgin Media O2 today vowed to shake up the UK telecoms market and help drive the country’s recovery from the pandemic as it launched following a £31bn mega-merger.

Parent companies Liberty Global and Telefonica were last week given the green light for the joint venture, which represents the biggest UK merger in a decade and the largest UK telecoms deal ever.

The combined companies boast 47m customers across broadband, mobile, TV and home phone, as well as tens of thousands of business and public sector clients.

It employs 18,000 people and pulled in revenues of around £11bn last year.

Chief executive Lutz Schueler, who formerly led Virgin Media, today said the merged company was the “complete package” as he vowed to shake up the UK telecoms 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,” he said.

“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.”

Schueler added that Virgin Media O2 would play a key role in upgrading the UK through new gigabit broadband and 5G services, as well as expanding its existing network across the country.

The company has committed to investing at least £10bn in the UK over the next five years.

Much of this will be focused on meeting the government’s connectivity targets. Ministers have pledged to roll out superfast connections and eliminate so-called signal not spots in rural areas as part of a major levelling up agenda.

The firm said it will deliver gigabit broadband speeds across its network by the end of the year and deploy fibre to millions of additional homes.

While there are no changes to existing services, Virgin Media O2 is preparing to offer converged broadband, entertainment and mobile services in one place later this year.