Mobile operator O2 and IT services firm 2e2 have teamed up to create a joint venture to deliver outsourced communications and IT services to businesses.
The new venture, called O2 Unify, will launch on 2 April and will offer a single point of access to the allies' services for customers, the companies announced on Wednesday. Based in Slough, it will sell converged fixed-line, mobile, voice and data services alongside managed WAN and cloud data services.
"As the worlds of data and voice continue to converge, O2 Unify will see us move from managing simple data and broadband connections to overseeing complex business applications and communications infrastructures," O2's business director Ben Dowd said in the announcement.
A number of companies, such as Orange Business Services, offer services akin to those offered by O2 Unify. In addition, in mid-2011 Verizon Business Service expects to launch a UK cloud service.
O2 Unify is looking for a piece of the UK services market, which is worth over £7bn annually, according to O2. The joint venture will target the carrier's existing customers and new clients, and it will initially use technology developed by 2e2, a key IT services provider for the carrier in the past.
"We'll have an enabling platform of networks for companies to buy up and then build their flexible working solutions on top of that," Dowd told ZDNet UK.
The venture builds on O2's launch of its Joined Up service in September 2009. The Joined Up service provides mobile, fixed-line, data, broadband and consultancy services to businesses.
We think that it's the first tie-up of a mobile operator and a systems integrator in the UK. – Paul Osborne, O2 Unify
"We think that it's the first tie-up of a mobile operator and a systems integrator in the UK," O2 Unify's managing director Paul Osborne told ZDNet UK. The carrier talked to Newbury-based 2e2 for more than a year before deciding on the alliance, he added. Both companies are investing equally in the joint venture.
HM Treasury spent £75,590 on services from 2e2 Data Management, an organisational division of 2e2, in its 2009 to 2010 supplier budget, an FOI request revealed on 30 December.