Broadband seen feeling O2 heat soon

May 15, 2006

When it comes to phone services, European markets are often ahead of the curve, particularly when it comes to making the most out of mobile phones. Paying for parking or getting a drink from a vending machine via a mobile handset is all too common in Finland or Germany but effectively unheard of in the United States. Meanwhile, text-messaging had been flourishing in Britain years before U.S. users finally started getting into the quick-fingered mode of communication.

Britain may well be leading the pack when it comes to having a cut-throat telecommunications market too, as the barriers between cable and satellite, wireless and fixed-line, as well as Internet and television come tumbling down. The latest news to heat up the competition comes from O2, the mobile carrier that was once the wireless arm of British Telecom, as it prepares to challenge its former parent company.

O2 itself was bought out by Spanish telecom giant Telefonica last year, as the company sought to expand its hold in Western European markets. In announcing Telefonica's latest earnings results last Friday O2 Chief Executive Officer Peter Erskine said the company was expecting to go beyond simply being a wireless provider and start offering fixed-line service as well in Britain and beyond. In addition to operating in Britain, O2 has control of Telefonica Germany as well as Cesky Telekom of the Czech Republic.

"Convergence is something that customers will want, and we'll be learning from our experiences in the Czech Republic and Germany and doing similarly in the rest of our businesses," Erskine said, adding that "before we became part of Telefonica, we saw an opportunity in convergence, and Lady Luck has brought us two businesses in that space." Specifically, the company is expected to enter the broadband market and offer high-speed Internet access, thereby offering bundled services of broadband and mobile-phone connectivity.

"It is pretty certain we will go down the DSL route ... if we do DSL alongside mobile we then have just about everything the customer wants," Erskine said.

Britain's Daily Telegraph reported that the company might actually be considering buying out a broadband provider to make that vision a reality, such as Bulldog, Pipex or Tiscali. Whether or not the company buys out another company, it is clear that O2 is preparing itself to challenge BT head-on as the British telecommunications market becomes increasingly fierce.

Last month cable group NTL bought out Virgin Mobile, having bought out Telewest last year, and became the first British carrier to offer what is known as quadruple play -- mobile, fixed-line, Internet and television programming -- under a single company. That merger has put pressure on rival companies to offer all those services themselves, and industry leader BT itself has made clear that it will be offering cable networking before the end of the year. The latest pronouncements by O2, however, is making it clear that it will be facing challenges even in its core operations from rivals, particularly as Telefonica is already the biggest provider of television over the Internet.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Verizon launches rewards program with tracking

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Efficient, intelligent, content-aware networks

Apr 15, 2013

The rapid, exponential growth of internet traffic means investment in infrastructure, new technologies and paradigms for getting content to users are needed. EU-funded researchers are pushing these boundaries ...

UK raises less than hoped from 4G mobile auction

Feb 20, 2013

The British government raised a less-than-expected amount from its 4G mobile auction that will result in five companies providing the country with super-fast mobile Internet services, a watchdog said Wednesday.

Czechs launch first auction of 4G mobile frequencies

Jul 13, 2012

The Czech telecommunications watchdog CTU has launched its first auction of fourth generation mobile telephony frequencies, with a fourth mobile operator likely to enter the market, its website said on Friday.

Tablets, smartbooks aim to fill PC-phone gap

Feb 17, 2010

(AP) -- If you've got a car and a bicycle, do you need a motorcycle too? Wireless carriers are betting that you do. They're making a big push this year for the motorcycles of the gadget world: devices that ...

The Network of Everything

Nov 17, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Wireless experts believe that, by 2017, personal networks will have to cope with at least a thousand devices, like laptops, telephones, mp3 players, games, sensors and other technology. To link these devices ...

Recommended for you

Verizon launches rewards program with tracking

Jul 21, 2014

Verizon Wireless is launching a nationwide loyalty program this week for its 100-million-plus subscribers. There's a twist, though: To earn points for every dollar spent, subscribers must consent to have their movements tracked ...

Verizon boosts FiOS uploads to match downloads

Jul 21, 2014

Verizon is boosting the upload speeds of nearly all its FiOS connections to match the download speeds, vastly shortening the time it takes for subscribers to send videos and back up their files online.

The goTenna device pitch is No Service, No Problem

Jul 18, 2014

In the new age of Internet-based crowdfunding with special price offers, where startup teams try to push their product closer and closer to the gate of entry, goTenna's campaign offers a most attractive pitch. ...

Maths can make the internet 5-10 times faster

Jul 17, 2014

Mathematical equations can make Internet communication via computer, mobile phone or satellite many times faster and more secure than today. Results with software developed by researchers from Aalborg University ...

User comments : 0