Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica is considering the possibility of its British mobile subsidiary O2 UK re-entering the fixed broadband market, according to Bloomberg, which cites unnamed sources familiar with the matter. Deliberations are said to be at an early stage, and no formal plan has been presented to the group’s executive committee. Nonetheless, the report suggests that should O2 UK make another foray into the fixed line broadband market, it could opt to lease bandwidth from either BT or Virgin Media, roll out its own infrastructure, or even acquire an established player.
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, O2 UK previously launched its own-branded fixed line broadband service in October 2007, but having set a target of signing up one million fixed line broadband customers by 2010, it failed to achieve this goal, ending 2009 with just under 600,000 accesses. Despite continuing to register subscriber growth until the end of 2010, O2 UK soon began reporting fixed broadband customer declines, prompting its Spanish parent company to reconsider the foray into the UK’s fixed sector. As a result, Telefonica confirmed in March 2013 that multi-service operator Sky had agreed to purchase O2 UK’s fixed line business for around GBP200 million (USD257.9 million); with the acquisition completed the following month, the bulk of O2 UK’s fixed line accesses were migrated to that company.