Richard Branson launched Virgin Media at London's Royal Opera House this morning.
Joining chairman Jim Mooney and CEO Steve Burch at the launch, Branson said the venture was "a milestone in the history of the media industry and cable in particular."
The new company is essentially a re-brand that offers customers 'quad play' - the chance to sign-up with its mobile service in addition to the broadband, cable television and landline services already offered by the companies formerly known as NTL and Telewest.
The group already has a sizeable 10 million-strong customer base. According to Virgin there are 5m cable and 4.5m mobile customers in addition to the 250,000 virgin.net ISP service.
"For the first time there is a single brand set to provide a more extensive range of television entertainment, broadband and communication services than previously offered by anyone in the UK," continued Branson.
"Our transition to Virgin Media has been underway since last July and will continue over the coming months," he continued.
The converged company is also launching a new channel, Virgin Central to launch on 20 February. The offering enables you to pick and choose on-demand episodes of series such as The West Wing and Little Britain. The service is free to subscribers.
Virgin Media has also announced plans to roll out into non-cable areas over the remainder of the year using broadband connections to provide a similar service to BT Vision. The group says this will enable it to reach 97 per cent of UK households.
Quad play menu
Customers can choose from a range of products on the 'quad play menu' in clearly priced packages to suit their needs. Virgin Media offers two products for £20, three for £30 and four for £40.
These will be on sale in Virgin Megastores as well as 15 new Virgin Media stores at key retail sites.
Branson also hailed the progress made in customer service - notoriously bad at NTL. 71 per cent of calls now answered within 30 seconds compared to 37 per cent this time last year. The average speed of answer is now 40 seconds, compared to 176 seconds this time last year.
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