O2 owner moots brand roll out across Europe

The O2 brand could be rolled out across Europe following the company’s takeover by Telefonica, according to a leading telecoms analyst.

The brand only exists in the UK, Ireland and Germany, but the company announced last week that Telefonica’s operation in the Czech Republic is to be renamed Telefonica O2. It is thought O2 will be used as the brand name in the country from the summer.

Sources say O2 will be the favoured brand in all non-Spanish speaking countries Telefonica decides to expand into, and Strategy Analytics analyst Sara Harris believes the company will make a move into Eastern Europe.

“Even though O2 is not that recognisable outside the UK and Germany, it is short and snappy,” she says. “Telefonica has a very Spanish persona and may not translate that well into Eastern European markets.”

O2 marketing director Russ Shaw vowed to learn lessons from France Telecom’s takeover of Orange in an exclusive interview with Marketing Week earlier this year (MW January 26).

Some observers think O2’s brand will suffer as part of a vast telecom giant like Telefonica, saying the Orange brand has not been the same since its takeover in 2000.

But Shaw said at the time: “We are conscious of what happened with Orange and do not want to replicate it.”

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