Crown Cellular plc (formerly The O2 Company) is a British public holding company formed in August 27, 2020, to hold telecommunications assets sold by Styhon Battersea to prevent antitrust violations. Almost all shares are owned by Kasperi Salovaara, who is also the co-founder and a shareholder of Styhon Battersea, through his company Vuori.

As of December 2020, its primary brand is O2 (though they also own giffgaff), formerly owned by Telefonica UK. Its other brand Vodafone is set to be discontinued or sold in the near future.

History

Spin-off of O2

In 2020, Styhon Battersea successfully acquired Vodafone, CK Hutchison Holdings and Telefónica, which would result in them gaining the UK telecom market share of 65% (counting Tesco Mobile's 6% share). During the acquisition process, Styhon Battersea discussed a spin-off of certain assets with the British, German and Irish governments to prevent a duopoly in the countries.

Vodafone Italy (merged with ​Iliad Italia​), Vodafone Spain and 3 Austria (merged with Czech Telecom Austria GmbH) were sold to Crown Cellular and rebranded under O2 by December 2020; Tele2 Germany, sold with O2 Germany, merged with Czech Telecom Germany GmbH into O2 by that time as well.

O2 was announced to launch in Serbia in January 2021, after A1 Serbia (formed out of a merger between Vip mobile and Telenor Serbia) was set to partially split in a way that would allow at least 15% of the Serbian telecom market share to go to a new telecom (out of the 55% market share owned by A1 Serbia at the moment). O2 will also launch in Ukraine, as of result of O2's acquisitions of ​Kyivstar​ and TriMob.

Vodafone Ireland and Telenor Bulgaria were transferred from Styhon Battersea to Oliver Watson's OWL Ventures, who then struck a deal with Crown to relaunch them under the O2 brand by mid-February 2021.

In March 2021, Hoot, Crown and Viettel decided to merge their Asian operations into O2 Asia Pacific. The deal does not include Three in Hong Kong and Macau, SoftBank in Japan, or Viettel in Vietnam. To make up for the merger, Hoot sold off Telstra's 30% stake in ​Sensis​, while transferring their 35% stake in Foxtel to O2 Australia.

Styhon Battersea Telecom/Crown merger

Around mid-2021, during OWL Ventures's IPO, Styhon Battersea and Crown started a "silent merger" into their majority owner Vuori, with Crown becoming the surviving division solely dedicated to the "telecoms" industry. As of result, Crown gained its own division for operations in Asia, Oceania, the Middle East and Africa, which it would rebrand as O2 by the end of 2021, with the exception of a few brands.

Along with the merger, Vuori acquired Technicolor SA, from whom Crown subsequently acquired the telecommunications solutions and electronics departments, and merged it with Telindus, Telenor Common Operation (Hungary), Vodafone Global Enterprise, Telehouse Europe, BICS and Telefónica Business Solutions to form Crown Enterprise Solutions, which is also in charge of making O2 branded ADSL and OTT boxes.

A1 (in ​​Belarus​, ​Croatia​, ​Macedonia​ and ​Slovenia​; owned through A1 Telekom Austria Group​) was immediately integrated into O2 during the merger, with ​Proximus Group​ (with Proximus,​ ​Scarlet​ and ​Tango), ​Liberty Global​, the newly-reacquired Tele2 Croatia, Telenor Montenegro, ​Hey​, ​Telenor Hungary​,​ O2 Slovakia, Tele2 (in ​Russia​, Latvia and Lithuania), Beeline (in Russia, Armenia and Georgia), ​​Play​, ​UPC Broadband (in SwitzerlandPoland​ and Slovakia), ​Tele2​, Hi3G Access AB (3 Sweden), Tre (Hi3G Denmark ApS) and Sunrise​.

Vodafone (in Romania, Albania, ​Turkey and Portugal) followed suit. Swisscom FL was acquired and turned into O2 Liechtenstein, a JV with Swisscom. Vodafone Greece and Wind Hellas merged to form O2 Greece. Bouygues Telecom and ​Free​ (with Free Infrastructure & ​Free Mobile)​ merged to become O2 France, while Cytamobile-Vodafone became O2 Cyprus. San Marino Telecom, Telefonia Mobile Sammarinese and Telenet SrL merged to become O2 San Marino. The Estonian operations of Elisa and Tele2 were merged to form O2 Estonia. Nova and Vodafone Iceland merged to form O2 Iceland. Mtel Bosnia and Herzegovina​ became O2 BH. MTS Kosovo and IPKO merged to become O2 Kosovo. Ice (formerly owned by Access Industries) became O2 Norway. Bakcell, Nakhtel and AzerTelecom merged to form O2 Azerbaijan.

Lycamobile merged its operations into O2 in UK, Russia, France, Spain, Austria, North Macedonia, Ukraine, Italy, Belgium, Romania, Poland, Portugal, Ireland, Switzerland and Germany. Also, 3 Group Europe, ​Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Holdings​ and ​Hutchison Asia Telecom Group​ were merged entirely into Crown Cellular plc; Three in Hong Kong and Macau, and Wind Tre in Italy were spun off into a new unit in Hoot called Three Holdings B.V. in Amsterdam, while Three in UK and Ireland became part of Vodafone Three plc.

Airtel-Vodafone​ and ​Sure​ merged to form O2 Channel Islands, with operations also in the Isle of Man. Andorra Telecom was acquired by Crown and rebranded as O2 Andorra, now a joint venture between Crown and the government of Andorra.

On January 1, 2021, Crown sold its stake in O2 India to Qualis Telecom. Crown will still license the brand.

Virgin Media-O2 merger

On 7 May 2020, it was announced that Telefónica had agreed to merge Telefónica UK with Liberty Global subsidiary Virgin Media, subject to approval, into a 50/50 joint venture. If the deal is approved, the merger will be completed by the middle of 2021.

The deal was put on hold temporarily during Styhon Battersea's sale of O2 (which was inherited from its acquisition of Telefónica), but Salovaara, Crown's CEO, affirmed that the merger talks were still happening with Liberty Global.

Proposed acquisition of Vodafone New Zealand

After O2 Asia-Pacific was formed, Crown announced to start retiring the Vodafone brand and rebranding their operations under Orange in Africa and O2 elsewhere. This has prompted O2 New Zealand (formerly 2degrees) to negotiate a takeover of Vodafone New Zealand from private equity companies, in order to successfully finish the Vodafone brand's discontinuation.

Global operations

Europe

O2's new logo, used since Crown's acquisition in 2020.

O2 is operated in Europe by Crown Cellular plc, except in Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Cyprus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Malta, where they operate as joint ventures, and in Bulgaria and Ireland, where it's franchised to OWL Ventures's telecom division Hoot.

A minor exception is Spain, which was launched in 2018 as a MVNO, and operated as such until 2020 when Vodafone Spain and the O2 Spain MVNO merged to become a fully fledged operator.

Country Launch Operator
Flag of United Kingdom.png United Kingdom 2002 Crown (50% sale to Liberty Media pending)
Flag of Germany.png Germany 2002 Crown
Flag of Czech Republic.png Czech Republic 2006 Crown (through O2 Czech Republic)
Flag of Slovakia.png Slovakia 2006 Crown/O2 Czech Republic (through O2 Slovakia)
Flag of Ireland.png Ireland 2006 (original)
2021 (revived)
Hoot (under license from Crown)
20px Spain 2018 (MVNO)
2020 (full MNO)
Crown
20px Austria 2020 Crown
20px Italy 2020 Crown
Flag of Serbia.png Serbia 2021 Crown
Flag of Ukraine.png Ukraine 2021 Crown (80%)
Ukrtelecom (20%)
20px Bulgaria 2021 Hoot (under license from Crown)
20px Croatia 2021 Crown
20px Montenegro 2021 Crown
20px Belarus 2021 Crown
20px Macedonia
20px North Macedonia
2021 Crown
20px Slovenia 2021 Crown
20px Hungary 2021 Crown
20px Faroe Islands 2021 Crown
20px Belgium
Flag of Luxembourg.png Luxembourg
2021 Crown
20px Lithuania 2021 Crown
20px Latvia 2021 Crown
Flag of Poland.png Poland 2021 Crown
20px Switzerland 2021 Crown
Flag of Russia.png Russia 2021 Crown (50%)
Rostelecom (50%)
20px Georgia 2021 Crown
20px Armenia 2021 Crown
20px Portugal 2021 Crown
20px Romania 2021 Crown
20px Albania 2021 Crown
20px Malta 2021 Crown (50%)
Monaco Telecom (50%)
20px Greece 2021 Crown
20px Liechtenstein 2021 Crown (50%)
Swisscom (50%)
Flag of France.png France 2021 Crown
20px Cyprus 2021 Crown (50%)
CYTA (50%)
20px San Marino 2021 Crown
20px Estonia 2021 Crown (50%)
Elisa (50%)
Flag of Sweden.png Sweden 2021 Crown
Flag of Denmark.png Denmark 2021 Crown
20px Iceland 2021 Crown (75%)
Sýn (25%)
20px Bosnia and Herzegovina 2021 Crown (80%)
Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina (20%)
20px Kosovo 2021 Crown (50%)
Telekom Slovenije (50%)
Flag of Turkey.png Turkey 2021 Crown
Flag of Norway.png Norway 2021 Crown
20px Azerbaijan 2021 Crown
20px Andorra 2021 Crown (50%)
The Government of Andorra (50%)
Jersey and Guernsey
Isle of Man
2021 Crown

In addition of O2, Crown Cellular plc also operates Tesco Mobile under a 50/50 joint venture with Tesco. Crown also operates a MVNO under their own network, called giffgaff. They rebranded Proximus TV as O2 TV in Belgium during the Styhon Battersea Telecom/Crown merger.

They also have a venture capital division Crown Initiatives (formerly Bouygues Telecom Initiatives), a R&D center called O2 Innovation Center (formerly Telenet Innovation Center), a 25% stake in ​T-Mobile Netherlands​, and a 49% stake in the Swiss company e-Fon AG.

O2 also runs Lycamobile Transform Holdings JV with Telenet, Polkomtel (Plus), Three Ireland, Swisscom, Orange Germany (ex-Vodafone) and Telekom Romania, established to help transfer customers from Lycamobile to O2.

Asia-Pacific, Middle East & Africa

Crown owns a 34% stake in Orange Africa, which operates in Middle East and Africa. They have an office in Johannesburg, which is responsible for holding the stake and running the company from their side.


O2 Asia-Pacific came to be through a merger of Viettel Global, and Asian operations owned by Hoot (who acquired Trilogy International Partners early on) and Crown. It is a joint venture between Hoot and Crown, with Viettel being part of four joint ventures within O2 Asia-Pacific. Crown is considering rebranding all acquired operations under the O2 brand by the end of 2021. They have offices in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait City, Hong Kong and Delhi.

They operate the following branches of O2 Asia-Pacific:

Country Launch under O2 Operator Previous brand(s)
20px Hong Kong
20px Macau
2021 Crown/Hoot (50%)
Sun Hung Kai Properties (50%)
SmarTone
20px Brunei 2021 Crown/Hoot DST
DSTIncomm
DST Solutions
DSTFacom
20px Bhutan 2021 Crown/Hoot (50%)
Tashi Group (50%)
TashiCell
20px Turkmenistan 2021 Crown/Hoot (50%)
Turkmentelecom (50%)
Altyn Asyr
TM Cell
Flag of Taiwan.png Taiwan 2021 Crown/Hoot FarEasTone
20px Sri Lanka 2021 Crown/Hoot Airtel
Hutch
20px Nepal 2021 Crown/Hoot Ncell
20px Vietnam 2021 Crown/Hoot (50%)
VNPT (50%)
Vietnamobile
Vinaphone
20px Bangladesh 2021 Crown/Hoot Robi
Banglalink
20px Malaysia 2021 Crown/Hoot (75%)
Public float (20%)
EPF (5%)
Celcom (and yoodoo)
Digi (and Tapp)
Marshall Islands
New Caledonia
Niue
Guam
Northern Mariana Islands
Norfolk Island
Palau
Solomon Islands
Tuvalu
Fiji
Cook Islands
Kiribati
French Polynesia
Nauru
Vanuatu
Tonga
Samoa
Federated States of Micronesia
2021 (under the name O2 Pacific) Crown/Hoot (75%)
NTT DoCoMo (12%)
The Fiji government (9%, through Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Limited)
The Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (2%)
Samoa and Cook Islands governments (1% each)
Vodafone (Fiji, Kiribati, French Polynesia, Samoa and Cook Islands)
DoCoMo Pacific (Guam and Northern Mariana Islands)
Pacific Mobile Telecom (French Polynesia)
Digicel (Fiji, Nauru, Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga)
FSM Telecom (Micronesia)
Telecom Vanuatu Limited (Vanuatu)
N/A (other territories)
20px Papua New Guinea 2021 Crown/Hoot Digicel
Flag of India.png India (including British Indian Ocean Territory) 2021 Qualis/Hoot (80%)
Aditya Birla Group (12%)
Private equity (8%)
Vi and Airtel (India)
Sure Mobile (BIOT)
20px Maldives 2021 Crown/Hoot Ooredoo
20px Myanmar 2021 Crown/Hoot (50%)
Viettel (25%)
Star High Telecom (13%)
Myanmar National Telecom Holding (12%)
Ooredoo
Mytel
20px Cambodia 2021 Crown/Hoot (50%)
Viettel (50%)
Metfone
20px East Timor 2021 Crown/Hoot (50%)
Viettel (50%)
Telemor
20px Laos 2021 Lao Asia Telecom (50%)
Crown/Hoot (25%)
Viettel (25%)
Unitel
Flag of Kazakhstan.png Kazakhstan 2021 Crown/Hoot Kcell
KazakhTelecom​/Altel
Tele2 Kazakhstan
Beeline
20px Tajikistan 2021 Crown/Hoot MegaFon
20px Pakistan 2021 Crown/Hoot Telenor
Flag of Singapore.png Singapore 2021 Crown/Hoot (51%)
Temasek Holdings (49%)
Singtel
Flag of New Zealand.png New Zealand 2021 Crown/Hoot 2degrees
20px Uzbekistan 2021 Crown/Hoot Beeline
Flag of Australia.png Australia 2021 Crown/Hoot (through O2 Australia; 50%)
Qualis (50%)
TPG Telecom

(company)
Optus
TPG
iiNet​, Alphawest, Uecomm and ​Internode
SIMplus
Vodafone (telecoms and ISPs)

Flag of Indonesia.png Indonesia 2021 Crown/Hoot 3 Indonesia (prepaid services)
XL Axiata (and XL)
Axis Telecom
Indosat Ooredoo

O2 Brunei owns:

  • Kristal-Astro - joint venture with Astro Malaysia
  • Kristal Media Sdn Bhd - radio station division
    • KristalFM

O2 Asia-Pacific also owns Digicel Sports, a 35% stake in ​Telkomsel​, a 55% stake in ​Telenor Microfinance Bank​, a 23% stake in AIS, a 75% stake in Koryolink​​, and a minority stake in Globe Telecom. They also own two MVNOs: Virgin Mobile in Australia; and O2 Prioritas in Indonesia, the latter which is a merger between 3 Indonesia's postpaid services and XL Prioritas.

They license their Vodafone brand (inherited from Styhon Battersea's acquisition of Vodafone Group) to Vodafone New Zealand, and they have a deal to license it until either Crown acquires the company or until the brand is "forcefully retired".

They have strategic alliances with ​China Unicom​, ​Gibtelecom​​, StarHub, LG Uplus, du, Telecom Argentina, SFR, Elisa, MTS Russia, Viva MTS, TDC A/S, Monaco Telecom​, and ​TELE Greenland​; as well as with Hoot in Dominican Republic, Japan and Canada.

Latin America

O2 Latin America is a telecommunications provider in the Caribbean and Latin America, owned by Crown with its foundation finished in December 2020. It was founded through a merger of Scarlet's Latin American operations (Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten), Movistar's operations in Latin America, as well as mobile operators Digicel, Tigo, Entel and Liberty Latin America.

It's the most leading operator across most countries it serves, with it holding second place in Bermuda, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana, Nicaragua and Suriname, rivaling Claro and state-owned telecoms.

O2 Latin America does not operate in Cuba or the Dominican Republic. Their subsidiaries include O2 Latin America Business (a consolidation of Liberty Latin America's B2B operations), Digicel Sports and Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico. In addition, O2 Latin America aslo runs MVNOs on its own network: Tuenti outside Spain under license from Styhon Battersea, as well as Virgin Mobile Latin America, outside Mexico and Brasil, which became a joint venture with Virgin Group as an extension of their contract.

Replaced Countries
Cable & Wireless Communications (including FLOW) Anguilla
Antigua and Barbuda
Barbados
British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Dominica
Grenada
Jamaica
Montserrat
Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Turks and Caicos Islands
Speednet (including Smart) Belize
Digicel Anguilla
Antigua and Barbuda
Aruba
Barbados
Bermuda
Bonaire
British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Curaçao
Dominica
El Salvador
Grenada
Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana
Guyana
Haiti
Montserrat
Panama
Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia,Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Suriname
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos Islands
Tigo Bolivia
Colombia
El Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras
Jamaica
Paraguay
BTC the Bahamas
Entel Chile
Peru
Movistar Argentina
Chile
Colombia
Costa Rica
Ecuador
El Salvador
Guatemala
Nicaragua
Panama
Peru
Uruguay
Venezuela
Mexico
UTS (including Chippie and + Movil) Bonaire
Curaçao
Panama

VTR

Chile
Cabletica Costa Rica
Cable & Wireless Panama
Vivo Brazil
Scarlet Curaçao, Aruba and Sint Maarten
Sure Falkland Islands

Divisions

Lunar

See also Lunar Onyx One and Lunar Jade

Lunar is a smartphone brand owned by Crown Cellular.

With the acquisition of some of Vodafone's European operations, they received patents and development staff related to their Vodafone Smart line of smartphones and IoT electronics. Crown also acquired assets of Essential Products, for future R&D projects.

With these acquisitions, Crown decided to start development on a smartphone to be exclusively sold in retail locations operating under Orange in Africa and Middle East, SoftBank in Japan, Telstra in Australia, Rogers in Canada, Verizon in the United States, and O2 in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Lunar Alliance

See also: Lunar Mobile Services

Crown established the Lunar Alliance, which would start work on the research and development on Lunar Onyx One, the Lunar OS (based on Android) and Lunar Mobile Services.

Lunar Alliance aims to open a privacy-focused but still developer-friendly system out of Android, with the help from several Android fork development teams and foundations such as /e/ Foundation, as well as the "perfect smartphone" for consumers, especially that of Crown's telecom division O2.

With Crown's sister companies' expertise (such as Duracell on batteries), Vuori has also initiated cross-company collaboration under the alliance.

A legal battle between Crown and Google (et al) prompted the Lunar Alliance to pursue marketing the device as a "device for the misfits", criticizing, among other cons, Apple's lack of customization and Android's reputation for bloatware and vulnerability. Epic Games's participation in the legal battle also opened doors for a possibility of Fortnite becoming exclusive to Lunar OS.

Special edition products

Lunar Onyx One has numerous color variants named and modeled after gemstones (except for the white variant), mainly as exclusives to respective telecoms that sell them: rhodolite magenta for T-Mobile, citrine orange for Orange, platinum white with glossy finish for SoftBank, ruby red for Rogers and Verizon (the red variant is also available in other stores under the Product Red initiative) and zircon blue for O2. The emerald green and amethyst purple variants were made exclusively for Hoot and OWL employees only.

Lunar Onyx One also had a Coca-Cola themed variant sold in Latin America and Asia, especially Mexico, Brazil and Japan.

As part of the Vuorensuu project, Lunar announced a sweepstake with two variants; the iridescent variant (inspired by black opal and bismuth) would be sent to 185 winners, while the golden variant would be sent to 15 winners with tours to Vuorensuu once it finishes construction. 

Legality status

Due to the establishment and purpose of the consortium, Crown has been in a legal battle with Google and the remaining members of Open Handset Alliance (Broadcom, Telus, Nepal Telecom, VisualOn, eBay, Omron, PacketVideo, AKM Semiconductor, Garmin, Acer, Lenovo, MiPS, Renesas, ST Microelectronics, Wind River, NEC and Wipro) on numerous cases, such as the legal statuses of the Lunar Mobile Services and Lunar OS concepts. Soon, Crown was joined by Amazon, Kyocera, Foxconn/Sharp, Hoot, Tencent, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Facebook, Samsung, Huawei and Epic Games.

Features

Lunar Onyx One is rumored to have an infrared spectrometer and a thermal camera.

Future

Lunar has yet to release Onyx One and Jade smartphones, but Crown and Hoot are optimistic about the brand's future. Crown has mentioned about plans to expand the brand into smart watches and smart glasses, if the management of both PTG and its parent company Vuori allows so. Lunar will prioritize third-world countries over others in terms of low pricing and marketing.

Members

The memberships of China Unicom and China Mobile are still pending due to the uncertain trading ties between the U.S. and China.

Owners Network operators Device manufacturers Component manufacturers Software developers Other
Vuori Crown Cellular plc


  • O2 Europe
  • O2 Asia-Pacific
Pegatron Technology Group
  • Pegatron Home Appliances (Haier)
Pegatron Technology Group
  • Red Camera Company (pending)
  • Pegatron Europe (NXP)
    • Logitech
  • Pegatron USA 
    • Synaptics










Duracell

Pegatron Technology Group

  • Pegatron Japan (Access)










Krake

Pegatron Technology Group

  • Sasken
OWL Ventures

Hoot

  • Verizon
  • Telstra
  • SoftBank
  • Rogers
Fairchild
  • HTC (pending)
  • Sony (pending)
  • LG (pending)
  • Dell (pending)
Fairchild
  • ARM Holdings
  • DTS
  • Qualcomm (pending)
  • Intel (pending)
  • Meridian Audio (pending)
  • Juniper Networks (pending)
  • Marvell Technology Group (pending)
  • NVidia (pending)
  • Motorola Solutions (pending)
  • Infineon/Cypress (pending)
Orange Labs
Other companies and joint ventures O2 Latin America
Orange Africa
Deutsche Telekom
NTT DoCoMo
KDDI
Foxconn Dover Corporation
Texas Instruments
Myriad Group
Apache Software Foundation
Kaspersky Lab
Nintendo
Endeavor Streaming
Adobe Systems
Monotype Imaging
Accenture
Borqs

Nintendo became part of the Lunar Alliance through a partnership between them and Vuori, which would see Mario games get optimized for the Lunar Onyx One.

Crown Enterprise Solutions

Slogans

Crown (corporate)

  • "Here and there too" (2020-present)

O2

  • "See what you can do" (2006-2008)
  • "It's your O2" (2006-2008)
  • "We’re better, connected" (2008-2013)
  • "Be more dog" (2013-2016)
  • "More for you" (2016-2018)
  • "Breathe it all in" (2018-2020)
  • "Breathtaking" (2020-present)
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