July 8, 2014
The UK Post Office has announced it will become and MVNO later this year, using the EE network, in a move that couldn’t be more symbolic if it tried. The Post Office, which can trace its history back to 1660, seems to have finally got the memo that people are mainly communicating via mobile phones these days and decided to join the party.
There being no shortage of MVNOs in the UK, the Post Office plans to differentiate itself by offering simple, transparent tariffs and aggressive pricing. The Post Office brand presumably still elicits visceral trust, especially in more rural communities and among older consumers, so playing the simplicity and value cards is a smart move.
The Post Office already has landline and broadband products, so this MVNO move is designed to give brand-loyal customers a triple-play offering. Having said that, Post Office TV may still be some way off. There will be an initial launch via 50 branches this Autumn, before a full roll-out towards the end of the year.
Martin George, Chief Commercial Officer at Post Office, had some research done which confirmed what a great idea this is. “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,” he said.
“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,” concluded George. “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 UK’s MVNO market is effectively split between those using an existing brand and customer installed base to promote their mobile brand, such as Tesco and Virgin, and those offering specific services, especially cheap overseas calls, such as Lycamobile and Lebara Mobile. Post Office Mobile (or whatever it will be branded) clearly falls into the former category, and it will be betting that its brand-loyal punters don’t overlap with those of Tesco and Virgin too much.
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