Virgin Media O2 launches first joint product in bid to take on BT
Virgin Media O2 has launched its first joint product since the two company’s £31 billion merger earlier this year to take on BT.
Customers of both brands can expect their pay monthly mobile data allowance to be doubled, while broadband speeds will be upgraded to the next available tier, free of charge.
The firm is hoping its Volt offering will lure new customers who may only have one service but not the other, as well as those not currently using either.
Bill payers who link their two accounts together from Monday will also have roaming in 75 countries added – usually £4.99 per day – access to WiFi Pods for better broadband coverage around the home, and money off new connected devices with a pay monthly plan.
“There are a lot of people who have either got both today or got one, and therefore for quite a small amount of effort you unlock a huge amount of value,” Jeff Dodds, Virgin Media O2’s chief operating officer told the PA news agency.
“BT, they’re the incumbent operator in the UK, and therefore a lot of their life is trying to bat away competition because they are the biggest broadband provider in the UK.
“We’ve always been a challenger brand, all Virgin businesses have, so when we were Virgin Media by itself, and now as Virgin Media O2, where we have even more assets available to us.
“We want to provide brilliant connectivity at a brilliant price to lots and lots of people, and we’re trying to attract new customers, and you know, BT have more customers than anybody else when it comes to broadband so in that respect we’ll be trying to attract a lot of those.”
The offer can only be applied if the name on both accounts are the same, though the mobile data boost will be extended to all SIMs under that name.
Billing will remain separate, Mr Dodds said, because the backend technology of two systems is complex and costly to bring together, while most customers have indicated they “don’t really mind” as fewer people use paper bills these days and use apps instead.
He also suggested to PA that Volt is just the beginning of Virgin Media O2’s combined efforts, saying: “This is the start of our new offerings, not the end of it.”
Paolo Pescatore, independent analyst at PP Foresight, said it “might not be a game-changing move” but showed there is a “strong pipeline of new products and services that will be positioned as a means to attract users on rival networks”.
“It feels like a relatively simple offering and seamless signing up process that should resonate with customers,” he said.
“Ultimately, consumers want reliable and robust connections at affordable pricing. In turn this will help increase loyalty and reduce churn.”