4/2/2009 11:55:00 AM
Network share jobs at risk at O2 and Vodafone
O2 and Vodafone’s respective technology teams look set for job cuts as a new division named ‘Cornerstone’ is formed to manage the site share programme for the two networks.
O2’s 220 strong technology team that worked on the network share, of which around 40% are contractors, have already been told many will not have their contracts renewed.
Vodafone announced 500 UK job cuts in February, and 170 will be from the Newbury head office.
O2’s technology teams were told in a meeting chaired by chief technology officer Derek McManus last week that redundancies would be a ‘last resort’.
However, they were also told that around 80 extra staff would be moved over to Cornerstone in the first phase, and that some of these would be from Vodafone. Cornerstone currently has around 12 staff members.
An O2 spokeswoman said that Cornerstone (jointly run by Vodafone and O2) would still employ separate O2 and Vodafone employees.
It comes ahead of an assessment of each networks’ 12,000 masts on 20 April by the new group, which will plan where to decommission masts in a drive to make both operators more efficient and use fewer masts.
The initial assessment will start with 900 sites (450 belonging to Vodafone and 450 to O2).
Phase three of the operation is expected after July, by which point the programme will be wholly run by Cornerstone.
McManus (pictured) has internally described the network share deal as part of plans to make the operator 50% more efficient, with a 50% reduction in costs and a 50% reduction in the time it will take to roll-out the network.
The O2 spokeswoman added: ‘We are in the fortunate position of growing our business in a challenging market, in a climate of global economic downturn.
This deal is primarily about reducing our property costs and operating costs, not our people costs.’
Both networks will be employing staff in the short-term to carry out the ambitious plans to share sites.
A Vodafone spokesman said the operator had ‘no short-term plans to make changes’. He added: ‘When we made our announcement [about job cuts], we made sure we were fit for purpose.’