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OVO Sells UK SSE Phone and Broadband Customers to TalkTalk UPDATE

Friday, August 5th, 2022 (7:41 am) - Score 6,600
talktalk uk broadband isp 2020

Low cost focused UK ISP TalkTalk has finally reached an agreement to acquire around 100,000 broadband and phone customers from rival operator Ovo Energy, which is perhaps more familiar to consumers by the brand name of SSE (i.e. OVO’s retail division acquired that base in 2020 and has retained the brand under licence).

Ovo originally acquired SSE’s household energy and broadband business for £500m in January 2020 (here) – a deal comprising £400m in cash and £100m in loan notes. But since then, most UK energy providers have been hit by a tsunami of problems due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the massive surge in energy prices. Ovo itself recently had to cut around a quarter of its UK workforce (1,700 staff) and is re-focusing on their core energy business.

NOTE: SSE’s internet and phone customers are currently provided by Vodafone.

Back in May 2022 we reported that TalkTalk was in discussions with OVO about acquiring SSE’s internet access base for an undisclosed sum (here). The big news this week is that OVO has now confirmed that they’re in the “final stages of agreeing [that] sale“. As part of that agreement, SSE has also given permission for their brand to be “used under licence” until April 2023 to support a smooth transition.

OVO states that they’re currently continuing consultations with trade unions and employee representatives on the matter, but completion of the transition is currently expected to take place during this Autumn 2022. The migration will then require several months, as both company’s will need to take care when shifting customers from Vodafone’s platform to TalkTalk (such work can sometimes cause problems with billing and connections).

OVO Statement to Customers

We want to reassure you that, right now, nothing is changing – your prices and your terms and conditions will stay exactly the same, and there’s nothing you need to do. We’re still just as committed as ever to great customer service, and so are TalkTalk.

TalkTalk are phone and broadband experts – bringing reliable service at great value to all their customers. We trust them to carry on giving you the same high level of service you’re used to. OVO will stay focused on energy and the goal of bringing clean power to everyone.

We’ll be in touch as soon as we have more information about the change.

Both TalkTalk and OVO / SSE have tended to adopt a similar low-cost approach to their broadband packages, thus SSE’s broadband and phone customers shouldn’t expect too much to change on that front in the future. But it’s worth noting that TalkTalk do attract quite a few customer complaints (here) and so there’s a possibility that service or support quality may decline, although experiences do vary.

The SSE website has setup an FAQ page for the change, although at present it’s fairly bland and doesn’t really add anything to what has already been said above. The announcement itself comes after Virgin Media (VMO2) is alleged to have made a £3bn bid to acquire TalkTalk’s 4 million customers (here) to help support their future plans, but we’re unlikely to hear anything more official on that until after the OVO deal has completed.

UPDATE 3:17pm

TalkTalk has just issued a comment on all this, albeit two days behind OVO’s announcement.

A TalkTalk spokesperson said:

“We are delighted to be welcoming SSE Phone & Broadband customers and team to TalkTalk this Autumn. As the country’s only scale affordable provider, we look forward to providing our high-quality service at the best possible value.”

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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18 Responses
  1. Mango says:

    It’s interesting how many of the replies in the prior article suggested the chances of this happening are slim to none…

    1. Lemon says:

      It was always going to happen. Going private has made TT very acquisitive. Made total sense seeing as it takes 100K+ customers from Vodafone. Big blow to Voda and their fixed line base.

  2. Jonkarra says:

    Thank god I’m not an SSE customer and contractually bound to them. I hear nothing but horror stories about talk talk. I wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole!

    1. ad47uk says:

      Nor me, never used them myself, but I have dealt with them a few times on behalf of other people. Anyway, if you are moved to another ISP, I doubt they can hold you to any contract.

    2. Mark says:

      Technically all you hear is horror stories about all ISP’s! The complainers make up 1% of the customer base. People are very vocal when something doesn’t work but don’t make a sound when everything works correctly! That’s why they always look bad!

      Take a look at the Facebook pages for Virgin, Sky, BT, EE, PlusNet, TalkTalk etc etc and you’ll see that they’re all absolutely full of complaints! For instance, there’s people on the Virgin page saying they left Virgin for Sky and recommend that no one touches Virgin with a barge pole. Then you go on the Sky page and see customers saying they left Sky for Virgin and recommending that no one touches Sky with a barge pole.

      The only issue I’ve had with TalkTalk is with their overseas based call center. They told me to plug my router into the test socket when I rang to request a replacement router because mine wouldn’t even power on and they REFUSED to come off the “troubleshooting script”. Reliability wise I can’t fault TalkTalk, never had an issue with them. It hasn’t gone off once in 5 years.

    3. Ad47uk says:

      @Mark

      You are correct, all providers have horror stories, but when you are on the receiving side that is a different thing. As I have said, I have never had Talk Talk, but I have dealt with them a few times and to be honest trying to talk to their customer service is like talking to a brick wall, they take no notice whatsoever, they just stick to the script, even Sky was not that bad and would at least take notice.

      I also did not like the way their sales reps treated people in the city centre a few years agao, chasing after people to try to get them to sign up.

      Also, as I have said before, they are the only ISP to be hacked as far as I know and by a teenager.

      plusnet is not perfect, while they have been ok for me, I do know of people who had problems with them, but at least we can understand what the hell they are saying, even if they are in Yorkshire 🙂

      The one thing I dread going to a smaller ISP is Talk Talk taking them over.

  3. Miriam Matherr says:

    [admin note: removed spam]

    1. M Rees says:

      I couldn’t agree more with you
      I’ve been with Talk talk for five years and I had an issue early on but not had a problem with them since

  4. Miriam Matherr says:

    “TalkTalk TV” is finalist this year 2022 @ CSIAwards:

    – Best TV user experience:
    1) Accedo and Common Sense Networks – Sensical
    2) Altibox supported by 3SS – Altibox TV
    3) DOTSCREEN – OSN+ App
    4) Mirada – UX Evolver
    5) NetgemTV – TalkTalk ‘Pick n Mix’ better value TV

    Source: https://www.csimagazine.com/awards/shortlist22.php

  5. Ad47uk says:

    Glad I was not using Ovo broadband, because I would be moving right away if they moved me to Talk Talk

    1. Ryan says:

      I’ve used Talktalk in the past and know few people who also use/used them, I never had any issues with them my old TT connection was a lot more reliable than my current VM connection.

    2. Ad47uk says:

      @Ryan,

      i know a couple of people that use Talk Talk and they have had no problem, maybe they have got better in the VDSL days, but in the ADSL days they were awful. But they are still the only ISP to have been hacked, and they were hacked by a teenager.

  6. Ben says:

    > As the country’s only scale affordable provider

    Vodafone might have something to say about that.

  7. Clive says:

    Had Talk Talk for years, how I put up with them for as long as I did, I still can’t understand, they were absolutely shocking in every respect. Good luck to all those with them today.

  8. BigJonny says:

    Lots of people here giving their 2 cents about TalkTalk and how “bad” they are.

    So here are my 2 cents:
    – 16 years with them.
    – Never had an issue. Like not a single one.
    – No slowdowns.
    – Cheaper than most other ISPs for essentially the same service.

    The actual bad about TalkTalk:
    – Still no IPV6 to this day.
    – Bin the router. This IMO is where all problems come from, for all ISPs not just TalkTalk.

  9. Yatta! says:

    I’ve been a TalkTalk broadband customer a couple times in the last 5 or 6 years, their poor reputation is undeserved at least from my experience, as I do not recall any problems with the service either time.

  10. Pat says:

    Never had a problem with talk talk since joining up with them many years ago any problem i have had is due to aerial/signal

  11. Anthony says:

    I remember reading saying one of the biggest problems with budget ISPs is they give you a naff router. If you use your own router and look how to fix connection issues online, most issues sort themselves out. Would I be right in thinking this is a good number of complaints about TalkTalk?

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