In 2020, the French Iliad Group bought the Play mobile network for PLN 9.6 billion. A year ago, the acquisition of UPC Polska from Liberty Global for PLN 7.013 billion was completed. In France, the company provides mobile, internet and television services under the Free brand.
TV stations can be accessed via Freebox set-top box. It is logical that the company would also choose one brand in Poland. The first step towards this was the slogan “UPC went to play” and the accompanying advertising campaign. According to our information, the final date of rebranding is not known yet. It is introduced gradually.
We are developing our services under the Play and UPC brands. As a rule, we communicate business decisions through the official channels of the company.
Lower UPC marketing expenses and move to Play headquarters
Betting on the Play brand will allow you to save money. Now, after entering the UPC website, we are greeted with both the cable network logo and the telecom operator. In February, we reported that after a change of ownership, UPC Polska had reduced its advertising activities by three-quarters.
This happened despite assurances that the company would not soon abandon its well-known brand in Poland. – UPC is a brand deeply rooted in the minds of Polish users, it is associated with fast internet and high-quality services, and it is this goal that brings us closer together – he argued last spring. Jean-Marc Harion, CEO, Play.
At the beginning of February, UPC Polska employees moved out of the Spark office building at al. Solidarnoci in the Wola district of Warsaw to the Neopark office building in Mokotów, where the headquarters of the Play operator are located.
According to the information provided by the Wirtualnemedia.pl portal, Several hundred people worried this move. – Play desk is big, it fits everyone. The work takes place in a hybrid model, everyone has their own office. The individual divisions of UPC and Play are working together, we heard from a company employee.
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A few days ago, Play completed the sale of half of the shares of the company in which it is a shareholder of the UPC Polska fiber network. It raised PLN 1.775 billion from French private equity fund InfraVia Capital Partners. The network covers 3.7 million households. After the deal, the new entity will be able to lease optical fibers to UPC’s competitors. Only in the premises where this operator has been present, Vectra, Polsat Box, Orange and T-Mobile will be able to provide their services.
Without UPC mark also in other countries
After these transactions, the bet was usually placed on the mark of the acquiring party. After Wizja TV merged with Cyfra, the digital platform was advertised as Nowa Cyfra+ for a while, and later referred to simply as Cyfra+. However, 10 years later, the owner of Cyfra+ acquired the N platform, the shared service that had been operating under the name nc+ for several years, and in the fall of 2019 it was renamed to Platform Canal+. The N brand also disappeared from the names of stations derived from this platform – in the spring of last year. nSport+ has changed its name to Canal+ Sport 5.
More than a decade ago, Telekomunikacja Polska was replaced by the Orange brand. Even earlier, the current Idea mobile network was called Orange.
It is not known what provisions regarding the name of the UPC Polska network are contained in the contract between the Iliad Group and Liberty Global. It happens that such agreements specify a time when the rebranding takes place.
In 2015, the Spanish telecom company Telefónica acquired the Spanish Canal + platform and merged it with Movistar TV, as a result of which the Movistar Plus + platform appeared on the market. At that time, the French Canal + brand began to be abandoned, so as not to push the Vivendi concern to use it. The rebranding covered all Canal+ stations that are part of Movistar Plus+.
At the end of 2022, Play had approximately 12.8 million mobile customers. Therefore, the brand awareness of this operator is much greater than that of UPC Polska, which mainly reached residents of megacities as a cable network. At the end of 2021, the cable operator had 1.57 million customers.
Poland wouldn’t be the only country from which the UPC brand, which has been here since 2000 after Liberty Global’s acquisition of Polska Telewizja Kablowa (PTK), would disappear. In 2018, Liberty Global sold its cable networks in Germany, the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary to Vodafone. Currently, they are operating under the banner of the new owner. In the Netherlands, UPC changed its name to Ziggo and in Switzerland to Sunrise.
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