500 phone jobs at Virgin

RICHARD BRANSON and One2One will this week announce the creation of 500 new jobs as they finalise plans to bring out a Virgin-branded mobile phone service.

The recruits will be used to man a call centre in Trowbridge, Wiltshire in readiness for the launch of the joint venture. A team of 50 staff has already been put in place to oversee the project.

Mr Branson, the entrepreneur whose interests range from bridal wear to air travel, has been exploring for over a year ways to exploit the boom in cellular phones. Almost 2 million new customers signed up for phones in the first quarter of the year and the boom shows no sign of abating.

Talks with One2One are at an advanced stage but it is understood that the deal has yet to be finalised. Reports that there will be an announcement this week detailing the precise terms of the joint venture are thought to be premature.

Virgin would bring its successful brand to any joint venture while One2One, which has 2.2 million subscribers, would contribute its operational expertise. Any venture would also benefit from Virgin's undoubted marketing skills and the ability of its founder to generate publicity.

Speculation has already begun to centre on the gimmick which Mr Branson will choose to mark the launch of his incursion into mobile telephony. The hot-air ballooning tycoon has been known to dress up in full bridal wear to publicise the inauguration of one of his innovations. However, the Virgin brand has also been associated with failure, notably its foray into cola.

The potential arrangement with One2One is a familiar one for Virgin, which tends to lend its name to ventures which are operated behind the scenes by market specialists. Virgin Direct, its financial services arm, for example, is run in partnership with Australian specialist AMP.

The prospect of a deal with Mr Branson will be welcomed by One2One's parents, Cable & Wireless and America's MediaOne, which are preparing to auction the company.

Five European groups - Vivendi of France, Telecom Italia, France Telecom, Deutsche Telekom and Mannesman of Germany - are competing to buy One2One in a deal which could fetch up to pounds 10bn even without a deal with Virgin.

However, One2One is in need of a stimulus after slipping to the bottom of the league of British mobile phone networks behind Vodafone, BT Cellnet and Orange. One2One recently slashed its tariffs in an attempt to improve on its 15 per cent market share.

Wiltshire County Council has expressed its delight that Virgin has elected to locate its call centre in Trowbridge.

ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Helpdesk Analyst

£23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...

Senior Helpdesk Analyst / Service Desk Co-ordinator

£27000 per annum + pension, 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ind...

Senior Pensions Administrator

£23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Administrator

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Admini...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London