Despite the combined £250 million ($383m; €391m) poured into the recent rebranding of UK mobile phone operators BT Cellnet and One2One, respectively as O2 and T-Mobile, a new study suggests consumers have not been getting the message.

According to the Summer 2002 Mobile Report from Continental Research, nearly 80% of O2 subscribers do not know about their operator’s name change, with awareness of the new brand half that of BT Cellnet among existing users.

This comes despite O2’s £150m pan-European rebranding push, including sponsorship of London’s Arsenal football club and reality TV marathon Big Brother.

When asked to name mobile operators spontaneously, only 20% of the 2080 respondents mentioned O2, far worse than rivals Orange (67%) and Vodafone (54%).

T-Mobile fared little better, named by only 24% of interviewees despite a high-profile ad campaign featuring tennis players Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi. The operator has spent an estimated £100m on its British rebranding.

The findings were disputed by O2. “This is at odds with our own research,” the company insisted. “We are very happy with how the name change is being received. In fact, it's exceeding our targets.”

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff