MSE News

O2 and Virgin Media set to merge

O2 and Virgin Media set to merge

Mobile phone operator O2 and broadband giant Virgin Media are planning to merge and create one of the UK's largest telecoms firms, their parent companies have announced. But the plans have yet to be approved and the merger likely won't take place until the middle of next year at the earliest, so if you're a customer with either firm there's no immediate impact.

Liberty Global and Telefonica – the owners of Virgin Media and O2 respectively – will bring together O2's 34 million mobile phone customers with Virgin's 5.3 million broadband, pay-TV and mobile users.

If you're a customer of either firm, nothing will change for now, as the deal can only take place subject to regulatory approval, including from the Competition and Markets Authority. Even if the deal gets the green light, the merger's not expected to happen until mid-2021.

We've asked if O2 and Virgin Media will continue to operate as separate brands, or if they'll be merged under one banner, and will update this story when we hear back.

Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, Telefonica chief executive, said: "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."

Liberty Global chief executive officer Mike Fries added: "We couldn't be more excited about this combination."

Looking to save money on your mobile or broadband? See our Cheap Sims guide and Broadband Unbundled tool for full help.