O2 launches fixed line with BT


O2 today announced it’s to launch its first fixed line offering to the corporate and SME sector by partnering with BT. It said it aimed to be the number one UK B2B communications provider by 2012.

O2 has partnered with BT Wholesale, in a five-year agreement, to launch ‘Joined Up’ which will be available through O2 direct, Centre of Excellence outlets and distribution from October 1. The fixed line service is available for both O2 and non-O2 business customers.

Speaking today at the Charlotte Street Hotel in Central London, O2 business sales director Ben Dowd (pictured) revealed the new proposition will provide business customers the opportunity to converge their entire telecom needs including fixed line, mobile and broadband, under a single O2 bill.

Details on packages are yet to be announced, but Dowd revealed O2 customers would get additional benefits such as free outbound fixed line calls to O2 mobile and vice-versa, saving “significant” amounts of money for the business.

Dowd also confirmed the fixed line proposition has been trialed over the past 12 months, which has resulted in it acquiring fixed line business from two “major” companies including a well known high street retailer and a well known manufacturing company. The deal he said represented “thousands” of new lines.

O2 also conducted research through Poplus, questioning 100 business owners and board level executives which revealed 76 per cent of businesses who change their fixed supplier made an average saving of £10,000 a year, based on the average spend of £78,300.  The UK fixed line industry is worth in excess of £12 billion, he added.

Combined savings across survey participants total a potential £1.2 billion. 38 per cent of businesses currently are unwilling to change despite savings, the research also revealed.

Dowd also stated the company had set itself some “strong” targets, but expected O2 to be the fixed line provider of choice by 2012.

Dowd said: “We have talked for some time about our strategy which is to become the comms integrator of choice by 2012.

“We are partnering with BT to launch the service and this will provide a single converged solution for telecoms solutions. It gives business the opportunities to outsource all of their telecoms data, ICT and consultancy with us, so we can deliver all those solutions for them now.

“Customers have been asking us for a long time now to take over their fixed line services for some time. The partnership follows a 12 month project with them and process we went through choosing them as an ideal partner. We believe customer experience is the biggest piece we will bring in to this space.

“I’m not going to reveal our targets, but our targets as the operator market leader are very challenging and we set very challenging targets ourselves as has our parent.

“We wouldn’t be entering this space if we didn’t feel there was a significant opportunity for us, which we absolutely do. With the combined strength of O2 and Telefonica it’s a big opportunity.

“We have already won some business, some large corporate accounts before we launched. So what it indicates to me is there is a receptiveness to choose O2 in this regard and that is primarily backed up by the strength of our brand.

“We are seeing more and more mobile and fixed line tenders together. In corporate it’s probably one in four almost one in three, have got fixed elements and mobile elements in them. So those walls between fixed and mobile are starting to come down.

Showing the love

Dowd also claimed that customer feedback from existing customers using other fixed line suppliers revealed they do not feel valued. O2’s commitment to providing “market leading” customer service will see it take business from competitors, Dowd said.

“We feel there is a big opportunity in the high end and mid of corporate in particular where customers have not been shown enough love. And they are looking for a supplier to come in and show them some love, which is what we will do.

“We have already demonstrated that we can do that with our existing relationships with them, which is why they are coming to us in the first instance and happy to move those services over to us.

“We are capable of doing this, the demand is there, and a clear desire from the market place to use O2 as their supplier of choice.

“If there are customers unhappy with their supplier it’s a quicker process in terms migrating over to a new supplier, far quicker than a normal sales cycle in the mobile space.”