NTL:Telewest is understood to be plotting a major Valentine’s Day relaunch using the Virgin name, according to industry sources.
An insider at the newly merged cable giant says the NTL and Telewest brands will be ditched in favour of Virgin Media on February 14 next year. The announcement will follow the integration of the Virgin Mobile service, which NTL:Telewest bought for £960m in July.
An NTL:Telewest spokeswoman says that no decision has yet been made on the brand name for the new integrated service or a launch date.
But Virgin Enterprises, the licensing arm of Sir Richard Branson’s business empire, has trademarked the name Virgin Media.
Another trademark application – for Virgin Vision, which was lodged at the beginning of the year – was withdrawn this week at Virgin Enterprises’ request. Virgin Vision was widely believed to be the name planned for the new company’s television service.
It is not known if the Virgin Media name would apply only to the "quadruple-play" bundled offering of home telephony, cable television, broadband and mobile, or to the component parts as well.
NTL:Telewest hopes the quadruple-play service will give it the edge over rivals, with traditional media players such as BSkyB moving in to broadband and home telephony and BT launching the BT Vision hybrid television service.
The spokeswoman adds: "It is no secret that the rebranded service will include the name Virgin and be launched early next year."