The announcement by BSkyB (Sky) that it had bought the half milion broadband customer accounts from O2 illustrates both the pros and the cons of a 'semi' regulated market for communications (whether Broadband, telephony, wifi, radio, satellite or terrestrial televison). Of course the pros and the cons differ if you are a customer rather than a provider.
BSkyB has, with a £180 million cheque, become the second largest broadband provider in the UK after BT, leapfrogging Virgin Media and Talk Talk.
So customers have the pros of being having a relationship with an organisation which makes its money form multichannel content delivery, and the cons of the same (expcet a lot of upsell/crossell emails phone calls etc).
BSkyB has the pros of a bigger market for its multichannel products, but pushes itself closer to the centre of the regulator's (Ofcom) radar.
O2 of course can now concentrate on its core business i.e. getting money out of mobile contracts, and £180 million will by a significant number of 4G masts.
There was speculation that in the recent UK 4G auctions Sky would want to acquire some spectrum. This deal gives it a whole lot of customers without costs and risks of establishing the infrastructure to become a mobile network operator (MNO). Lets hope that the so called 4-play operator also extends it Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) so that the former O2 customers see service benefit in addition to the increase in marketing calls.