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January 13, 2011

O2 calls up 2e2 for IT services gig

O2 Unify is gunning for £7bn market

By Steve Evans

Mobile operator O2 has teamed up with IT services provider 2e2 to create a joint venture that aims to be a one-stop-shop for all IT and communication outsourcing needs.

O2 Unify, as the JV will be known, will offer a single support desk as well as unified reporting and billing. The new platform will target a £7bn industry and the firms claim O2 Unify could potentially drive efficiency savings of up to 30%.

Based in Slough the JV will be staffed by 500 people from O2’s existing sales team, and will initially target existing O2 customers here in the UK. The companies told CBR that eventually the JV may go worldwide with O2’s parent company, Telefonica.

While customers will be able to use all of O2 and 2e2’s existing offerings the first joint product will be a managed wide area network (WAN) service. More services will be added to the portfolio as the JV matures, the companies said.

Paul Osborne, who will take the MD role at O2 Unify, told CBR that the company wants to eventually off a full suite of IT services. "This is beyond unified communications, we are looking at cloud and SaaS products. It will be a total communications and IT services suite."

Terry Burt, CEO of 2e2, told CBR that the number of people using personal devices at work – known as the consumerisation of IT – was another potential target for O2 Unify. "Managed WAN is not revolutionary but we’ll use that as a base; it’ll be a case of crawl, walk, run. The decline of desktops and the rise of smartphones and tablets at work is driving consumerisation. With our single support process the time is right to tackle that."

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O2 Unify will also strongly look at the flexible working market and help companies set up the necessary technologies and policies.

O2 Unify will officially launch on April 2 this year. It is jointly funded and profits will be shared equally.

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