The UK’s largest mobile network operator by subscribers, O2 UK, has announced that it will begin offering fixed line voice services to both new and existing fixed line broadband subscribers from March 2010. The move will see the cellco compete with its previous parent company, and Britain’s fixed line incumbent, BT. O2 will offer two separate fixed line packages; ‘Evening & Weekend’ will cost GBP9.50 (USD15.45) per month, and offers unlimited calls to UK homes on evenings and weekends, while ‘Anytime’ will provide any time, unlimited calls to UK homes, 0845/0870 numbers and landlines in over 20 international countries for GBP12.50 per month. For those subscribers who have a mobile voice service with O2, a bundled package consisting of the operator’s ‘Standard’ broadband package and ‘Evening & Weekend’ phone package will cost GBP17 per month, including line rental.
Commenting on the development, Sally Cowdry, O2 UK’s marketing director, said: ‘This is the most important launch for us in the home space since we entered the broadband market and is part of our strategy to evolve beyond mobile to a leading connectivity brand. We know how many of our customers value the convenience of paying for their home phone and broadband together with no hidden extra costs, and we will be bringing the same commitment to quality of service with our home phone service as we have successfully established with broadband.’
O2 has previously indicated that it hopes to have signed up one million fixed line broadband subscribers by end-2010, a target which it hopes that the introduction of fixed line voice services will help it reach; according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database O2 UK had signed up 527,100 broadband customers by end-September 2009. At that same date the operator had 23.46 million mobile voice subscribers, giving it a market share of just under 30%.