EE talking to other MVNOs, including some you wouldn’t expect

Alex Walls
January 23, 2013

Everything Everywhere has been talking to others interested in signing up as mobile virtual network operators, it said.

Following the news that Phones 4u will launch its own mobile service as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in March, Everything Everywhere (EE) wholesale and M2M vice president Marc Overton said many mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) had shown interest in the network since launching 4G.

It made sense for big retailers, who were looking for things like loyalty relationships and the use of mobile to communicate offers, Mr Overton said.

B2B was also an interesting area, he said, where there was a lot of enterprise benefit from super fast 4G – which resonates with some of the network’s existing B2B MVNOs.

Unexpected MVNOs

It is a large step to get into the mobile space, and this kind of move may not seem like an obvious one. When asked which ‘unexpected players’ were stepping into the MVNO game, Mr Overton said those from ‘more traditional’ areas.

“Some of the more traditional industries and some of the more traditional retailers are now starting to consider the use of mobile in their portfolio and I’ll leave it at that.”

So what does this mean? High Street retailers like M&S?

Partnering with a mobile operator was no longer the domain of a few high street or mass market brands, he said, but was seen as a logical and consistent way of ‘approaching and having a different relationship with customers’.

An example of traditional industries would be the entrance of Tesco and ASDA to the market, and What Mobile understands Sainsburys is in the process of launching its own offering.  Whether this is on the EE network will have to be seen.

4G access for Phones 4u

Mr Overton said he was “very keen” to get Phones 4u access to the 4G network in time for the Christmas 2013 sales.  There was still some technical testing to be done and the propositions refined before launch, he said.

“I wish it was as simple as just flicking a switch.  There is a level of integration and development that we have to go through to get the service completely working properly.”

Pricing and launch offers would be kept secret until launch but “were innovative”, he said.

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