O2 Europe drops Asia device unit

European mobile operator is winding down its device business in Asia, but customers in the region will not be left out in the cold.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

European mobile carrier Telefónica O2 is exiting its device business in Asia, but the current regional management team is taking over the business under a new name.

The O2 Asia management announced today that it has set up a company--Mobile and Wireless Group (MWG)--with investment from London-listed Expansys. Mark Billington, O2 Asia's CEO, will assume an equivalent role in the new company.

MWG will take over O2 Asia's service and warranty obligations, and supply PDAs and smartphones to the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions.

O2 Asia's parent, Telefónica O2 Europe, decided to wind down its "non-core asset", following a strategic review, according to a company statement.

MWG said it will most likely hire a number of O2 Asia staff currently working at its headquarters in Singapore.

An O2 spokesperson told ZDNet Asia that the transition has begun and will be completed in "a matter of months".

MWG plans to announce its 2008 product lineup "in the coming months", and will brand these under its own name.

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