Unifed comms provider O2 Unify is throwing down a major challenge to rival Vodafone One Net as it announced aggressive plans to target the small and medium businesses (SMB) market.
It marks a renewed push by the operator into the joined up communications market. O2 Unify, a joint venture between O2 and unified comms provider 2e2, will offer SMB customers fixed, mobile, voice and data, an extended portfolio of services including managed WAN, cloud data services and flexible working solutions, and access to 2e2’s extensive ICT service framework.
The joint venture aims to cross-sell into the operator’s existing base of 40,000 SMB customers and hunt new customers using a dedicated 500-strong direct sales team and O2’s Centre of Excellence partners. It is doubling its staff numbers to 120 by the end of this year to help fuel the new growth.
The unified comms provider will target a broad range of companies, from large SMBs with up to 2,000 employees, down to sole operators and home operators (SOHO) businesses. The move comes on the eve of O2 Unify’s first anniversary. The joint venture began by targeting the enterprise market, winning a string of major contracts within the first few months including deals with Network Rail, G4S and BAE Systems.
Speaking to Mobile, O2’s business sales director Ben Dowd (pictured) said: ‘We are just launching O2 Unify into the SMB market. Its first year has been a great success and it was always part of the plan to eventually target the SMB sector. We see huge opportunities there – from SOHOs to larger SMB companies. What we offer is much broader than anyone else and we can leverage the O2 brand and customer base.’
Dowd insisted O2 Unify’s move to target SMBs will not impact on O2’s Centre of Excellence Partners’ businesses. He said: ‘As far as our channel is concerned, we believe that there is a big enough pond for everyone to fish in and we take our relationship with our channel partnerships, especially in this space, really seriously.’