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Monday, 3 September, 2001, 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK
BT unveils new mobile brand
O2 logo
O2: A breath of fresh air for BT?
British Telecom has announced it is to rename its BT Wireless mobile phone business 'O2'.

The name change comes ahead of the demerger of the mobile business from BT, which is expected to take place in November.

The holding company name will be changed to 'mmO2'. Shares will be listed under this name after the demerger.

"We have chosen a brand identity that is modern and universal" said Peter Erskine, chief executive of the mobile business.

One brand

The name change will eventually spell the end for the variety of brands currently controlled by the BT Wireless group.

These include Cellnet in the UK, VIAG Interkom in Germany, Telfort in the Netherlands, and Digifone in the Republic of Ireland.

BT's mobile phone internet portal Genie will also be relabelled under the new name.

The rebranding exercise will begin as soon as the demerger of BT Wireless from the rest of British Telecom is agreed sometime in the next couple of months.

The aim is to have all the mobile operations renamed O2 by Spring next year.

New company

While it will take a while to roll out the new 'O2' consumer brand, the BT Wireless business is to be named 'mmO2' straight away.

When the demerger goes through, BT shareholders will get shares in mmO2.

BT said it was going to split off its mobile business in May this year, as part of a plan to cut debt and revive its fortunes.

Analysts reckon the new company will be worth about 15bn - which makes it big enough to go straight into the FTSE 100 index of the UK's largest companies.

The exact date of the spin-off is expected to be announced on Wednesday this week.

T-mobile

BT is not the only company to rebrand its mobile operations.

The UK mobile operator One2One is be renamed T-mobile, the mobile brand of its parent form Deutsche Telekom, by the end of next year.

The move is part of Deutsche Telekom's plans to rebrand all its mobile phone businesses under the T-mobile name.

One2One also announced on Monday a new tariff package which would allow users free calls to rival mobile phone networks in the UK for the first time.

The 'Everyone 100' package will allow 100 minutes of calls to be made to local or national land lines, or any mobile phone in the UK. When the 100 minutes are used up, calls to other mobile networks will cost 20p a minute.

The move comes as the UK's telecoms regulator Oftel gets ready to publish its investigation into the high cost of calls between mobile networks.

See also:

09 Jul 01 | dot life
Brand-builders talk your language
02 Sep 01 | Business
BT heads for November demerger
27 Aug 01 | Business
BT Wireless 'to axe 1,500 jobs'
27 Jun 01 | Business
Bass hopes for name change
01 Feb 01 | Business
British Midland rebranded
10 Jul 01 | Business
Battle of the brands
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