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Telefónica UK pursues public sector push

Mobile operator follows up recent public sector success with launch of new business unit.

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Telefnica UK has set up a new business unit to help the firm capitalise on its recent run of success within the public sector.

The firm, which operates under the O2 brand in the UK, has named Billy D'Arcy, the firm's former head of corporate sales, as the new unit's managing director.

In a statement, Telefnica UK said the new public sector arm will form part of its Enterprise division, and was set up to help the company forge close ties with local and central government departments.

Ben Dowd, business director at Telefonica UK, said: "[This] signifies an important landmark in the role that Telefnica UK can play as traditionally [the public sector] is an area of the market we have under indexed in."

The company's public sector push follows on from the O2's recent success in securing a place on seven out of 10 lots on the Government Procurement Services' Public Services Network (PSN) framework agreement. The firm was one of 29 suppliers to make the cut.

The framework's aim is to provide single marketplace for suppliers to offer PSN-compliant technologies that aid the delivery of public sector communications networks across the UK.

"The PSN provides an opportunity to introduce ideas and technologies that are able to have a transformable effect [on] how government as a whole engages with its stakeholders and communities," said Dowd.

In other O2-related public sector news, the company has also awarded grants to several local authorities through its Future Fund scheme.

The initiative was launched in April and offered local authorities the chance to apply for three grants worth 50,000, 75,000 and 125,000 to fund new IT projects.

Reading Borough Council was awarded the 125,000 grant, which will be used to fund its work in using IT to help address the community's training and employment issues.

Merthyr Tydfil and Vale of Glamorgan County Borough Councils submitted a joint bid and were awarded the 75,000 prize to support an IT project that will help local SMBs.

Meanwhile, Luton Borough Council bagged the 50,000 grant to help improve the council's relationship with its residents using IT.

The winning councils fought off competing bids from 40 other local authorities.

Neil Prior, head of local government Futures Forum at O2, said: "Following a rigorous bidding process, we now look forward to truly helping the winning councils bring their ideas to life, and sharing the findings with the wider local government community."

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