NTL has finally completed its protracted takeover of Virgin Mobile, a move that could have a huge impact on the UK’s media industry. The new group will be branded under the Virgin name and is likely to be the first in the UK to offer a four-way deal of cable TV, internet access, fixed line telephony and mobile phone services.
As a Virgin Mobile customer, it’s unlikely you’ll notice much difference in the short term. NTL has persuaded Virgin Mobile management to stay on and run the business and has agreed an exclusive 30-year licence for the Virgin brand, which it believes will help attract and retain customers. In light of the public’s perception of NTL, this seems like a very shrewd move.
On a wider scale, Sky could at last have some serious competition on the pay-TV market, while the likes of BT and Vodafone might be a little worried about a bigger Virgin battling for the UK’s mobile and landline services. We could be in for an interesting 2006.