Carrier O2 and integrator 2e2 are launching an outsourced IT and comms joint venture.
Going live on 2 April, ‘O2 Unify’ will offer end users full access to both firms’ portfolios under a single services model.
Although no money is changing hands between the two parties, the duo claimed their alliance goes a step beyond previous attempts to bridge the divide between the voice and data worlds.
O2 Unify will initially have a dedicated headcount of 30 staff (quickly scaling to 100) but the venture will also be backed by O2’s entire 500-strong UK corporate salesforce. It will be headed up by O2’s Paul Osborne.
Customers will receive a single bill for an end-to-end comms and IT managed service, with O2 providing its traditional carrier services and backing off IT infrastructure work to 2e2.
Talking to ChannelWeb, Nick Grossman, business development director at 2e2, said O2 Unify would provide customers with “one throat to choke”.
“If you look at the other carriers everyone is saying they are increasingly offering a range of IT services, but this is far more seamless than other arrangements out there and goes further than anyone else has.”
The announcement sheds new light on rumours that O2 was weighing up a bid for 2e2 after top brass from the carrier were spotted at the integrator’s offices. Grossman stressed an acquisition was never on the table, adding that profits generated from the JV will be split equally. It is hoped the alliance will generate signficant revenues for both firms, although Grossman declined to reveal targets.
In a statement, Ben Dowd, O2 business director, said: “As the worlds of data and voice continue to converge, ‘O2 Unify’ will see us move from managing simple data and broadband connections to overseeing complex business applications and communications infrastructures. It’s a big and exciting move and the natural next step for O2.”
In a statement, 2e2 chief executive Terry Burt, said: “Naturally I am delighted that O2 has chosen 2e2, from over 100 possible candidates, for this key alliance.”
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