Mass Media & Technology

O2 & Virgin Media To Merge

(May 2020)

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rdd Founding member
You are lucky that you haven’t had to suffer the awful Horizon boxes used in ROI (and most other Liberty markets). So far ahead of Sky, features-wise, for the time they were released in 2013 (Sky wouldn’t have some of the features Horizon has till Sky Q came along), yet let down by hardware so underpowered that the sluggishness of the system is the main talking point for users. The promised multi room box (which would have worked like Sky Q mini) never arrived either, so multiroom is still delivered by mid-2000s vintage UPC Mediaboxes, which ironically are way faster than the box that was meant to replace them.
Pete Founding member
rdd posted:
You are lucky that you haven’t had to suffer the awful Horizon boxes used in ROI (and most other Liberty markets).

I think the V6 is the Horizon 4 with the TiVo software on it

or actually - going by the press release - the Horizon 4 is the V6 with Liberty's stuff on it

However the Horizon 4 has cloud storage of TV shows rather than hard disk. Which would be a big improvement.

see also:
rdd Founding member
It goes by a couple of names - also “EOS” and called “Mediabox Next” by VodafoneZiggo in Holland. Was designed so it could run either the Horizon or TiVo platform.

Not introduced in Ireland yet though, except for some trials.

Cloud storage has been introduced by eir on its newish Apple TV based service, but it’s got a bad name due to severe restrictions put on it by some rights holders who are interpreting it as being a “streaming” service, a la Now TV, as opposed to a “cable TV” service. Basically you cannot record from some terrestrial TV channels, including the BBC and Virgin Media TV channels.
Actually I'm surprised nobody has mentioned VodafoneZiggo yet. It's a joint-venture like they new company is going to be , but it retained both brands. They use Ziggo fro TV and Home internet and Vodafone for the mobile network, with heavy cross promotion.

So I think there is a way for them to retain both brands if they really want to, but otherwise I think they will keep o2. Simply because it is their brand and not licensed, like others already said.

And if they do rebrand to o2 completely, o2 TV is already used for the OTT streaming in Germany and by o2 Czech Republic for their TV channels: (o2 CZ was sold in 2013 but they do still license the brand from Telefonica)

So I think that would be an option for the cable TV side of things.
noggin Founding member
That’s the biggest problem with the Virgin name. It used to be a name you could ‘trust’, whereas now the products are owned by anyone who end up creating any such public image and it all becomes a bit messy. But the public persona is still “Richard Branson runs Virgin”.

Would Virgin Media Mobile customers be moved to O2’s network then, or will the transfer to Vodafone deal continue?

In my view, Branson made an error by not forcing better standards on to VM as a part of the licensing arrangement.

Others would argue that the reverse should also be true. The Branson brand has become very tarnished, and by association the Virgin brand has.

When I think of Virgin Media, I don't think of poor customer services, I think of tax dodging and trying to attack the NHS, and of not managing their train franchise well.

Whilst the Richard Branson personal brand was strong in the 70s and 80s, it's been on a bit of a downward trajectory since. I no longer associate it with buccaneering success, more over expansion and poor quality control of the branded companies.


One of the things the Virgin brand was once associated with was superior standards of customer care, which is not something VM or their forerunner NTL have ever been well regarded for.

I've never associated Virgin brands with customer care in my mind. Virgin Atlantic were/are an OK airline - but never thought they were anything special when I flew with them.

Virgin, increasingly, to me has a whiff of failure - Virgin Cola, Virgin Trains, Virgin Vie/Cosmetics etc.

The customer service standards at Virgin Mobile in particular have fallen very hard in the time since the merger.

I think Virgin Media is a big part of the 'fall from grace' of the Virgin brand.

Ah - I think quite the opposite. Virgin Media seems to be a reasonable successful company - unlike so many of the Branson brands. But then I'm aware they have nothing to do with Branson these days.
London Lite Founding member
Virgin West Coast had a good send off and had largely good customer satisfaction. The East Coast franchise which was run by Stagecoach with the Virgin brand was the opposite.
Yes, and don’t forget the public outcry when Virgin originally lost the franchise
AndrewPSSP and London Lite gave kudos
O2 is now only a brand in the UK and Germany, plus a small off-shoot in Spain. It used to have a presence in loads of places, including Ireland, but alas no more.

That's not correct. When I go to the Czech Republic my phone changes from giffgaff to the standard O2 brand. The licence agreement with PPF (who bought Český Telecom from Telefonica in 2013) lasts until 2022, with an extension to 2027 available. They obviously think there is still value in the O2 brand.
There is an O2 Arena in Prague.
Stuart and London Lite gave kudos
The licence agreement with PPF (who bought Český Telecom from Telefonica in 2013) lasts until 2022, with an extension to 2027 available. They obviously think there is still value in the O2 brand.

And it originally was only till 2017, when they already renewed the agreement till 2022.
DJ Dave
They should just split the O2 stores in areas where VM is available to half Virgin Media/Mobile stores and half o2 until they decide if they are going to call them VM or O2, didn't NTL sign a 30 year contract to use the Virgin name?

I went to a Virgin Store a few years ago in Cardiff and they were great, I was only browsing and he upgrade my current VM Mobile Phone there and then, I think if we had a Mobile store a bit closer to me I would actually go in and have a look at the handsets and have a play before I upgraded.
London Lite Founding member
I'd like to hope that some of the methods used at Virgin Mobile are introduced to O2, such as two contracts, one for airtime and the other an interest free loan for the handset.

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