One2One gets US West chief

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The Independent Online
US West yesterday stamped its authority on One2One, the mobile phone network which it jointly owns with Cable & Wireless, by appointing its second executive in a row as managing director.

Tim Samples, currently vice-president of US West's domestic wireless operations, will take over at the helm on 1 October. The move follows the recent surprise news that Jan Peters, the American managing director credited with turning round One2One's fortunes, was returning to the states to take a better job with US West.

The appointment of another US West figure is likely to quash any speculation that the company was under pressure to sell its stake in the network to C&W, which has yet to incorporate a mobile business into Cable & Wireless Communications, its pounds 4bn merged telecommunications group. US West and C&W collaborate in other parts of the world, but have also had a difficult relationship in the past.

Speaking from the US last night, Mr Samples, 39, said he could not comment on the issue of One2One's long-term ownership, though on past experience he was likely to stay at least three years in the post. "Both partners are very pleased with the momentum and they're very anxious to keep up the pace," he said, adding that it would be premature to suggest any changes to the business.

Under Ms Peters One2One expanded its coverage outside its traditional base of London and the South-east under a billion- pound investment programme. A high-profile television advertising campaign saw customer growth soar above Vodafone and Cellnet, the two market leaders, in the first months of the year.