Community focused mobile operator branches out into monthly contracts

Alex Walls
April 12, 2013

The People’s Operator, the mobile operator that gives 25% of its profits to community groups, has launched monthly contracts.

The mobile operator used Everything Everywhere’s network as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and has branched out into offering tariffs of voice, text and data bundles, with 30 day rolling contracts.  The company said this was in keeping with its strategy to expand its customer base into what it sees as a growing sector of the market, looking to give back to the community.

Chief executive Alex Franks told What Mobile the company made the move to monthly contracts because it wanted to attract as many customers as possible, so the move helped round out the service to the whole UK market.

“We do not want to be a niche player.  This was always part of our strategy….It’s a convenient way for customers to make a contribution to the cause of their choice by directing us to give 10% of their monthly spend to that cause.”

Franks said the company, which launched in November, would not discuss financials but was “delighted with the reaction from the market” and was ahead of its plans.

Co-founder and vice chairman Mark Epstein said the company was aiming to be a major UK mobile network, and wanted to move into the main area of the market, pay monthly contracts.

10% of bill to cause of your choice

The operator directs 10% of a customer’s call, text and data spend to a nominated cause, and gives 25% of its profits to community groups and causes via its foundation.  Partners include ChildLine, The Big Issue Foundation and Children’s Heart Foundation.

Epstein said the 10% was in addition to its 25% donation to community and charity groups.  The company was a for-profit one, but was set up with the idea that taking something that was used everyday and channelled some of its money to support causes, which were receiving less and less funding, Epstein said, in order to make profit in a socially responsible way.

“We don’t want it to cost people anymore, the concept is you go about your life…you don’t change anything but just by switching to use you can help make things better.”

The People’s Operator (TPO) would also be looking to rollout handset contracts in the next few months alongside its corporate offering, Franks said.  TPO told What Mobile at its launch that there would be a full range of handsets offered by the mobile operator which would be market competitive and that 4G would also launch as and when it became available.

TPO would also offer a full range of SIM formats, working in any unlocked device, Franks said.

Epstein said the devices would be from a range of manufacturers and a range of models and price points.  These would be “extremely competitively” priced, he said, and while TPO could not say anything specifically about 4G, it expected to be first in line when the service became available.

The breakdown

The contract bundles ranged from £5 to £25 a month with the higher priced bundle offering unlimited calls, texts and 1GB of mobile data, the operator said.  The £5 bundle offered 50 minutes, 50 texts and 50MB of data.  The £15 bundle offered 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data.

The Big Issue Foundation chief executive Stephen Robertson said communicating was core to its work and daily lives.

“We are about to embark on a joint initiative that will enable The Big Issue community to access the most affordable mobile tariffs in the country.”

Epstein said the company could also partner with individual organisations to come up with tailor made contracts, similar to corporate contracts.

About the Author

Share this article