Mobile phone group O2 had a good financial year in 2005. The firm reported pre-tax profits of £357 million in the six months to 30 September, up from £339m during the same period last year, driven by a strong climb in customer numbers. It went on to add 1.75 million new customers over the Christmas period, taking its total to 27.4m users. This was followed by a £17.7 billion takeover by Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica in March. It completed the deal after investors holding 88 per cent backed the takeover. The EU approved Telefonica’s takeover of O2 after the Spanish firm agreed to withdraw from an international mobile phone alliance to satisfy competition terms.
In February 2006, O2 implemented an integrated suite of network-enabling products from BEA Systems to deliver services and support strong customer growth. Implemented on time, on budget and launched in 16 weeks, it allows mobile users to do many of the things they typically use the internet for today – shopping, booking tickets or holidays.
Customers can stream news, sports, music, play 3D games and download ring tones. John Waterfield, head of product portfolio delivery at O2 says: “We want O2 to be the operator of choice for our service delivery partners and we want to be considered by our customers as the most innovative and attractive mobile network. We have tested the system to manage a significant volume of transactions, helping to ensure that customers aren’t left waiting for internet services.”