• More than 4,000 jobs to be created in the U.K.
  • 1,000 new apprenticeships to be created for young people
  • Combined company to form national connectivity champion for the U.K. having pledged to invest £10bn over the next five years

4,000 jobs and up to 1,000 apprenticeships will be created at O2 and Virgin Media in the U.K., telecommunications giants Telefónica and Liberty Global have today confirmed. Earlier this year, the two companies announced their plans to merge their U.K. operations and form a national connectivity champion, with these jobs to be created on successful completion of the merger.

The combined company will establish 1,000 new U.K. apprenticeships to help deliver a major expansion of the country’s digital connectivity. Virgin Media and O2 have committed to investing £10bn in the UK in the next five years, accelerating 5G to cover more than 100 towns and cities by the end of 2021. Additionally, the companies will have added 1m premises to the 15 million homes and countless businesses that are already gigabit ready for broadband, within 12 months of the merger closing. The merged company also has the ambition to accelerate investments and connect a further 7m homes to gigabit broadband in the coming years, well ahead of the Government’s current broadband ambition. The apprenticeships will be specifically aimed at young people, to enhance the UK’s digital skills base and help the country build the next-generation digital infrastructure vital for economic growth.

Alongside these roles, the combined company will also create 4000 new jobs in the U.K and has pledged to improve the connectivity of the country’s state schools by offering all state schools in Virgin Media’s footprint a free upgrade to our fastest 1Gbps broadband. This follows Virgin Media’s recent announcement to launch its “Essential Broadband” service this Autumn. The plan will support households facing financial difficulty and uncertainty by providing affordable broadband to those receiving Universal Credit.

In joint comments on the post-combination commitments, Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, Chief Executive of Telefonica, and Mike Fries, Chief Executive of Liberty Global, said: “We want to create a national connectivity champion for the U.K. which can support the country in its digital-led recovery, by investing in the infrastructure the country needs and promoting jobs and apprenticeships to improve the digital skills base. We want to create the leading fixed and mobile competitor in the market, supporting consumers, businesses and society, and this announcement demonstrates our confidence in the long-term potential of the UK’s digital economy.”