Its been on the cards for long time, but today O2 finally ended months of speculation by announcing that a private equity firm has purchased the operator’s emergency services digital radio network, O2 Airwave.
Unlike some assets stripping private equity firm, this firm claims that they have purchased O2 Airware, which will now be called Guardian Digital Communications, as a long-term investment. In fact, Jim Craig, head of the firm, “we are committed to a minimum of 10 years and plan to be involved with Airwave longer.”
The private equity company is owned jointly by two of Australian bank Macquarie‘s managed infrastructure funds: Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund II and Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group. No one is sure about the precise details of the deal but it though they are paying about £2bn for Airware.
According to Airwave’s website they are: “… a secure digital radio network dedicated for the exclusive use of the UK’s emergency and public safety services (not including 3g mobile services). Designed to carry voice and data communications, the service offers guaranteed levels of coverage across England, Wales and Scotland. This means that users can stay in instant communication even in remote areas or within confined spaces of buildings and tunnels where radio coverage has often failed in the past.”
Airwave has recently won several important contracts including a £48m deal with the Scottish Ambulance Service, a £32m contract with their Welsh counterparts, and most importantly a £115m agreement to kit out London Underground.
Jim Craig, said: “Airwave is the largest built-for-purpose public safety communications network globally, with unique capabilities. There is potential to leverage the company’s skills and unique know-how in the international field, as overseas governments modernise their emergency communications.”
In a move, which is good for both consumer and the environment, O2 have announced the O2 Energy Saver option, which offers customers £95 credit if they don’t upgrade. This is all part of O2’s “’We’re in this together’ campaign which started earlier this year. This is a great move for the environment because as present customers are given a new handset as an incentive to renew their contract, but as most mobile phone contracts only last for 12 or 18 months this means that new phone are manufactured and supplied before the old handset would normally have been replaced. Millions of these redundant handsets are then simply shoved into a cupboard and forgotten about or even worst sent to the nearest landfill.
The O2 customers who decide not to replace their phone, will be offer two options; A) £100 credit, or B) £95 credit and a £5 donation to the O2 Energy Saver fund. O2 will then match every donation of £5, meaning that the total donation for every handset not replaced is a total of £10.
All the money raised will put to towards creating greener communities by ensuring they use less energy, pollute less, create less waste and have a reduced contribution to climate change. O2 are giving the money to the Energy Saving Trust who will administer the campaign.
Matthew Key, Chief Executive O2 UK, said “Mobiles have changed the way we live and people will always want new phones and the benefits they bring. However, there is an environmental impact from the production of each new phone. With 70 million active mobiles in the UK the collective carbon savings to be gained by keeping handsets longer is simply massive. We therefore want to give customers a choice and an incentive to keep their existing phone and make a difference.”
For those of you who don’t know, O2 are UK’s leading mobile phone operator, with over 16 millions user in the UK alone, including 3g mobile customers. With this many customers a green campaign like this will have a sustainable impact on the environment.