The past 12 months in the mobile network industry have been pretty hectic. BT purchased EE, and Hutchison Whampoa (Three’s parent company) bought O2 from Telefonica. So, with all this consolidation in the UK mobile market, is there really a need for another network? Carphone Warehouse certainly thinks so. They’re in the process of launching iD next month.
iD isn’t a true mobile network. It’s what’s called a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, or MVNO for short. Like Virgin Media and Tesco, Carphone Warehouse won’t run its own masts or anything as expensive as that. Instead, they’ll use Three’s mobile network.
iD promises to be ‘the first mobile network built around what customers actually want’. I’m not really sure what that means, but they seem to be suggesting a very flexible account structure, allowing you to tailor your service to you, rather than having to take the packages being offered by the other networks. If that’s the case, it sounds very much like GiffGaff, but time will tell.
If they get this right, I can see a lot of people pulling away from the traditional operators to iD. I doubt they’ll make any headway in the enterprise market – the big boys have pretty much got that sewn up, but for small business and personal users, I can see this being a very attractive offering. It might even bring in a bit of genuine competition in the UK mobile market. I hope so. The traditional operators have been getting complacent in recent years, taking their customer base for granted.
I’m only a few months away from the end of my current contract, and I’m already starting to shop around for the best deals. I wonder if I’ll have any iD.