A JOBS bonanza is under way today after two Hampshire firms announced a multi-million-pound merger.

Up to 70 new jobs are being created after Premier Telecom and Business Phones Direct joined forces to become OneCom.

The new business will instantly have a turnover of more than £40m and, with the extra staff now needed, will create a workforce of nearly 300.

Around 50 of the posts will be in sales, while the rest will be customer service roles. The new firm will still be based in existing offices in Solent Business Park, Whiteley.

‘Brilliant news’ The recruitment drive has been hailed “brilliant news” for the area and comes just weeks after Whiteley Shopping Centre opened its doors, creating more than 1,000 jobs.

Premier Telecom, which also has offices in Southampton, is one of the largest independent providers of mobile communications solutions in the country, with a client list which includes London Transport, NHS and Hampshire-based DIY giant B&Q.

For the last two years, it has appeared in the prestigious Sunday Times Tech Track 100, which ranks Britain’s private tech companies with the fastest-growing sales.

Business Phones Direct is an independent business phone company trading with small and medium-sized enterprises across the UK for more than a decade.

OneCom’s new chief executive, Darren Ridge, said: “We will retain our local focus through our regional offices across the UK, offering a level of ongoing support and proactive account management normally only delivered by smaller businesses.

“This commitment to customer service will be complemented by the competitiveness and buying power of a business with a multi-million-pound turnover.

“The plan now is to continue with our historic service, delivering quality and value for mobile, tablet and Internet, and also to continue to expand the device management integrated elements of the business with a focus on consultancy and innovation.”

Jimmy Chestnutt, chief executive of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, added: “The telecoms business is very tough at the moment, very competitive and very dynamic.

“It makes perfect sense for two companies doing so well to combine and build on each other’s strengths, taking each other to another level.”