Vodafone loses BSkyB business account to O2

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Rival to offer managed services to broadcaster’s entire UK workforce in deal worth around 10,000 connections

Vodafone has lost its lucrative corporate contract with satellite broadcaster BSkyB, said to be worth 10,000 connections to rival operator O2.

The two-year deal, which was signed at the end of last month, will see O2 manage BSkyB’s entire telecommunication needs for all UK staff.

O2 said the deal included managed services and connectivity for BlackBerry, iPhone and iPad services, as well as mobile broadband.

BSkyB is the latest customer in O2’s Joined Up Communications offering under its Joined Up Business division, which was unveiled last month.

Sources at O2 claim the deal is one of the biggest and most important ever struck by the company. Similar contracts for managed services have previously been signed with G4S (Group 4 Securicor), Civica and Amey.

O2 general manager for enterprise David Plumb (pictured left) said: “Our first job is to deliver a robust mobile communications system for the company, who need to ensure that their workforces, from engineers to foreign correspondents, can stay constantly in touch.

“Our strong levels of network coverage were of highest importance along with our ability to deliver resilient, high-bandwidth data links for their 2,500-strong mobile engineering workforce, who carry out thousands of customer visits each day.

“This, combined will also help Sky achieve commercial, cost and innovation advantage in their business.”

The news follows comments made by O2 business director Ben Dowd to Mobile News that O2 was “transforming” its business strategy to become the partner of choice in the £62 billion information and communications technology market (ICT).

He said at the time the move would help O2 “close the gap” on Vodafone in the enterprise space, stating its rival had a percentage share in the “mid-40s”, compared to its own “high-30s” slice.

Dowd said O2 was in discussions with a number of Vodafone’s corporate customers about moving their business.

Vodafone head of small business marketing Roger Berry (pictured right) responded to Dowd’s comments, prior to the BSkyB confirmation: “We are doing really well on the large and public sector side. I don’t know where O2 are getting their views from, but we are still winning there. SMB is still a particularly big focus for us.

“It’s a really strong, profitable area of the market. Across the entire business game, Vodafone have been extremely successful for a long period of time and we see that continuing.”
Vodafone refused to comment on the BSkyB deal when contacted by Mobile News.

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