Phones 4u has signed on to become a mobile virtual network operator with Everything Everywhere.
It will launch its own mobile service, LIFE Mobile, in March 2013, offering customers data packages as standard, the company said.
However EE said access to its 4G network would be offered to LIFE Mobile customers “later in 2013”, so the monopoly remains for the time being.
The deal means Phones 4u will be able to access and offer Everything Everywhere’s network, including its 4G network, to its LIFE Mobile customers, setting its own retail prices, using its own systems.
The partnership also means EE has now signed on 25 MVNOs. With EE currently the only 4G network operator in the United Kingdom, the pull of 4G must have been strong. However EE said it has long standing partnerships with MVNOs in the UK and that the deal built on one already in place with Phones 4u.
EE vice president of wholesale and M2M Marc Overton said the network’s ambition was to provide 4G to key industry players by the end of 2013.
Phones 4u chief executive Tim Whiting said customers saw mobile devices as an integral part of their daily lives and LIFE Mobile would enable the company flexibility in designing deals for customers.
“We will sell LIFE Mobile alongside our existing network propositions and are confident the new network will play a key role in driving further growth for our business.”
So how come no one else can offer a 4G mobile virtual whoziwhatsits?
EE gained approval from Ofcom last year to build its 4G network, deciding consumers would benefit from early access to 4G and that the benefits would not be outweighed by distortion of competition. The spectrum auction, scheduled for this month, could offer other network operators the opportunity to purchase additional spectrum and thus launch their own networks. For more, see What Mobile’s story here.