British mobile operator O2 UK and multi-play provider Virgin Media, which announced plans to merge in May 2020, have published a new set of pledges as they look to move forward with the tie-up. In a press release outlining their commitments, the pair said the combined company will invest GBP10 billion (USD12.9 billion) in the UK in the next five years to accelerate the expansion of 5G coverage so that the network reaches more than 100 towns and cities by the end of 2021. Further, with it noted that the enlarged entity will add one million premises to the 15 million that are already ‘gigabit ready for broadband’ within twelve months of the merger closing, it is also reported to have ‘the ambition to accelerate investments and connect a further seven million homes to gigabit broadband in the coming years, well ahead of the Government’s current broadband ambition’.
In joint comments on the post-combination commitments, Telefonica’s chief executive Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete and Mike Fries, CEO of Liberty Global, said: ‘We want to create a national connectivity champion for the UK which can support the country in its digital-led recovery, by investing in the infrastructure the country needs and promoting jobs and apprenticeships to improve the digital skills base. We want to create the leading fixed and mobile competitor in the market, supporting consumers, businesses and society, and this announcement demonstrates our confidence in the long-term potential of the UK’s digital economy.’