Consumers could soon be treated to more competitive broadband and mobile prices after it was announced last week that Virgin Media and O2 are joining forces. This new venture will go head-to-head with BT who already owns a large broadband network and the EE mobile service.
With these giants of the telecoms industry battling it out, consumers may find they are offered improved deals and a much better service.
Virgin and O2 say that bringing their platforms together will mean consumers will enjoy a better customer experience, with superior connectivity and entertainment both inside and away from home.
This 50-50 joint venture could mean users get access to Virgin Media’s fast fibre broadband and O2’s expansive mobile network – which now offers 5G speeds in many parts of the UK – via one monthly bill.
Speaking about how it will impact customers Holly Niblett, head of digital at comparethemarket.com, said: “The merger between Virgin Media and O2 poses a major challenge to the dominance of BT in the UK and could shake-up the sector.
“Shared costs between Virgin Media and O2 should enable cost savings that, in an increasingly competitive market, may be passed onto customers as the big players battle for market share.
“BT could respond to this threat to its market-leading position by lowering prices, which would be good news for consumers.
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And Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at Uswitch.com, added: “This merger between the UK’s biggest mobile company and a prevailing broadband giant will create a titan of the telecoms industry that will almost certainly throw down a challenge to the most dominant player, BT.
“For all customers there is the exciting prospect of greater breadth of entertainment and faster speeds to look forward to.”
It’s unclear how O2 and Virgin Media customers will benefit from the new venture but it’s likely that the firms will now offer mobile and broadband in bundles which could help consumers pay lower prices and get the simplicity of one monthly bill.
O2 is already the UK’s largest phone company with around 34 million users and Virgin Media has about six million customers who access TV and broadband through the firm.
Announcing news of the changes Telefonica Chief Executive Officer, Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, said, “Combining O2’s number one mobile business with Virgin Media’s superfast broadband network and entertainment services will be a game-changer in the U.K., at a time when 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 UK digital infrastructure and give millions of consumer, business and public sector customers more choice and value.
“This is a proud and exciting moment for our organisations, as we create a leading integrated communications provider in the U.K.”
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