O2 looks at expanding into healthcare

O2 believes its growth will come from expansion into several new areas including healthcare and education as well as developing its range of financial services products.

The strategy follows the successful launch of the O2 Money brand in August and could stretch across the footprint of O2’s owner Telefonica, which serves 260 million customers in 24 markets.

The O2 Money launch was built around two new pre-paid debit cards, 100,000 of which were issued to O2 customers within the first seven weeks.

O2’s UK chief executive Ronan Dunne believes the brand has the credibility to create value in the new business sectors and “define a new market as a brand-led service business with mobile technology at its core”.

“We’ve always looked at how we define the rules of the industry and change the game as we go,” he says. “The O2 brand is all about delivering great customer experiences. Our insight tells us that our customers will give us the permission to do that in new areas.”

Discussions are more advanced in the UK healthcare sector, where O2 believes it can improve patient experience and lower the cost of delivering health provision.

“We’ve already launched healthcare services in the Czech Republic and Spain and are in talks with key partners in the UK. We’re at an earlier stage with educational tools, but again we’re looking at it in the UK and abroad.”

The new business that will emerge from the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Orange, subject to regulatory approval, would mean O2 would no longer be the UK’s leading mobile provider.

However, Dunne denies he is taking his eye off the ball in that sector. “Our right to bring great new experiences to customers is founded on us being a great communications company. That will always be the foundation on which or relationships with our customers is built.”

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