By Mark Jackson, ISPreview UK, July 8th, 2014
In an unsurprising move the Post Office has confirmed that their existing fixed line broadband and phone services, which are now predominantly supplied by TalkTalk’s platform after last year’s traumatic move away from BT (here), will soon be complement by a mobile product thanks to their new Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) deal with EE.
The new network is due to go live for everybody during autumn 2014, although initially only 50 of PO’s 11,500 branches will be offering it, but you’ll also be able to subscribe online via their website. The new service marks yet another MVNO win for EE, which has recently signed similar agreements with BT, Asda and the CO-OP.
Apparently the Post Office is setting up the new service as part of its on-going £1.34 Billion modernization programme, which began in early 2012 and is intended to help revamp thousands of the groups branches across the United Kingdom by 2015. At the time it was suggests that the Post Office might also use some of the investment to add a mobile service offering and that prediction has now come true.
Martin George, POs Chief Commercial Officer, said:
“Our research tells us that people are seeking greater value, with one in three of those surveyed saying they intended to move away from one of the mainstream providers for their next service. We believe we are in an ideal position to offer a genuine alternative with over a third (36%) also saying they would consider us as their mobile provider. This is a fantastic vote of confidence in the Post Office brand – voted one of the most trusted brands in the UK.
Launching our own mobile service, using EE’s network, is a significant milestone in the Post Office’s journey of change and a testament to our continuing efforts to offer more essential services for our customers.”
The new service should give the Post Office a nice boost into the triple-play market for communications services (minus TV of course), which might make them more attractive to some consumers. But at the time of writing their website has yet to reflect the new product and it remains to be seen whether any special bundles with their fixed line services will be made available.
In related news, some reports are suggesting that the PO has 500,000 fixed line broadband subscribers, although we’d take that figure with a big pinch of salt because it’s not official and has been thrown about for the past few years. Crucially this was first mentioned before the recent TalkTalk platform migration, which caused many customers to jump ship. Some information seen by ISPreview.co.uk earlier this year suggests that the current figure is considerably lower.
The move could also put more pressure on Sky Broadband to add a mobile service (perhaps with the help of Vodafone), especially with BT planning to launch its own consumer-focused mobile proposition in time for April 2015 (a similar product for businesses is expected imminently). Meanwhile TalkTalk and Virgin Media already have such a product.
NOTE: At the time of writing we do not yet know if the new mobile network will include 4G services or be limited to 3G, although we are trying to find out.