As the number of UK mobile networks potentially dwindles from four to three with Three’s acquisition of O2, the Hutchison Whampoa-owned firm is set to make similarly big waves in MNVO (mobile virtual network operator) land.
Dixons Carphone has announced it’s launching a new network on Three, and there are already rumours of discontent.
For those unfamiliar with the term, an MVNO essentially piggybacks one of the major players, offering mobile services on their network, but with independent pricing and customer service.
Some of the biggest MVNOs in the UK include giffgaff and Tesco Mobile, both of which use O2; and Virgin Mobile, which uses the EE (Orange and T-Mobile) network.
Curiously, Carphone Warehouse doesn’t sell phones on Three, which potentially causes a bit of a conflict of interest with its EE, Vodafone and O2 offerings. Though, again, Three has eyes on O2 anyway; it’s all very incestuous.
Incidentally, Dixons Carphone has just signed an extension with EE, taking the pair into the next decade together, hand in hand. Good timing. For Dixons Carphone, at least.
“The announcement of our new network supports our strategic vision to continue to offer customers the widest range of connections, for when they are at home or on-the-go,” yelled Graham Stapleton, CEO of Carphone UK & Ireland.
Lynda Burton, 3’s Wholesale Director, was similarly happy: “This is our biggest new customer to date and a great opportunity to be the MVNO partner of a large scale brand with real mobile expertise and insight.
“Our network capability, recognised as best for smartphone customer satisfaction and reliability, is a great platform and we look forward to supporting the UK’s biggest mobile specialist’s MVNO success.”
The Dixons Carphone network will arrive in Spring, and the news comes just a few days after Sky announced it’ll use O2 for its MVNO service, finally elevating it to “quad” player status alongside Virgin Media and TalkTalk.