O2 is the second largest mobile network in Ireland after Vodafone. But since the highs of the mid 2000’s they have consistently lost market share and revenue to the other Irish networks (1, 2, 3) who have either remained static or grown their own market shares at the apparent expense of O2. We’ve had rumours before of O2 being sold off as recently as Feb 2012 but now today the Financial Times is reporting the network is up for sale. According to the FT, Three (Hutchison Whampoa) are again interested but the communications regulator, Comreg, and the Competition Authority of Ireland might have a few things to say about that. O2’s parent company, Telefonica, has substantial debts which it needs to reduce so they have been actively pursuing sales of non core operations so the sale O2, which could yield upwards of 700million, would go some way to helping it reduce its debts. O2 Ireland has consistently been out performed by it’s competitors in Ireland who have been eating away at it’s market share. Looking at O2′ plan offerings it’s not hard to see why this is happening.
BT originally bought ESAT digifone from Dennis O’Brien before it had to devolve its mobile and fixed line businesses into BT (fixed line network) and O2 (mobile network). O2 was then bought by the Spanish firm, Telefonica, in 2005.