For cable and mobile customers, everything stays the same on paper, for now.
The merger of Virgin Media UK and O2 UK was legally completed on 1st June. The new organisation is known – unsurprisingly – as Virgin Media O2.
For now, just the corporate branding changes. Cable TV customers will continue to be billed and supported under the Virgin Media brand-name. O2 customers will continue to see the 20 year old brand appear on any correspondence or support tickets.
And, as yet, there are no landline internet-TV-mobile bundles bringing together the two sides of the business for customers.
The lack of immediate change is because the deal was only recently given regulatory approval. Approval followed reassurances to Sky, who use O2 for their mobile service. Virgin Media O2 will bring their technical platforms together, to enable billing of multi-play services and, for example, to give customers a single customer number.
It will take several years for the change to feed through to Virgin Mobile. A previously signed agreement with Vodafone runs until 2024. This is because Virgin Media agreed to move its mobile service from EE to Vodafone just before a tie-up with O2 was announced.
Virgin Media O2 is a 50:50 joint venture between Liberty Global and Telefonica of Spain. Both companies had been wanting to offload their UK businesses. The joint venture secures financial resources to develop their 5G and fibre networks.
The last such joint venture was created was when T-Mobile and Orange were brought together to form EE. Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom subsequently offloaded the business to BT. Even then, it took several years for the old brands to disappear.