O2 or Telefonica UK Limited is one of the largest telecommunications provider in the UK in terms of number of subscribers.
It’s headquartered in Slough, Berkshire in the UK. O2 provides mobile broadband and telephony internet services to both retail and business users. O2 provides network access to other MVNO to its subsidiaries Tesco mobile and Giffgaff.
It was formed in 1985 as a 60:40 JV between British Telecommunications and Securicor. The shares of Securicor were bought over by BT in 1999. A separate entity O2 was created by BT in June 2002. Telefónica acquired O2 for $27.74 billion. The acquisition brought restructuring in O2’s administration and strategic focus. Since 2007, O2 has diversified its business to financial services – O2 Money and even incorporated NFC technology to supplement this business line. However the NFC initiative roll out was discontinued in 2014, even after months of trial. The broadband business and fixed telephone line was sold off to BskyB on 1st March 2013. The company was again available for acquisition in November 2014 and was finally acquired by Hutchinson Whampoa in March 2015 for approximately $15 billion.
O2 has a strong marketing focus, primarily through sponsorships. It currently sponsors the England rugby team and had a long standing association with the Arsenal football club. It sponsor annual O2 wireless festivals in London and Leeds. The Millenium Dome, an exhibition space located in London has been renamed as The O2 Arena, after O2 invested in converting it to an entertainment venue. It has partnered with the Academy Music Group and Live Nation, allowing it to rename music venues and various associated marketing events along with it. It was the mobile operator to be awarded with the Carbon Trust Standard for its efforts to reduce carbon footprint.
The future landscape for the company depends on the strategic focus of its holding company Hutchinson Whampoa.