Electronics and IT retailer Dixons Carphone is to become a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) later in 2015, offering mobile services running over Three’s network, as part of a strategy to support consumer internet of things services.
The retailer already has an existing mobile broadband relationship with Three, as it does with the UK’s other mobile network operators (MNOs) EE, O2 and Vodafone, to act as a reseller of their services.
Its as-yet unbranded network is set to launch in spring 2015, and according to Dixons Carphone will offer “innovative and highly personalised connectivity options”.
In a statement, Carphone Warehouse UK and Ireland CEO Graham Stapleton said: “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.”
Three Wholesale director Lynda Burton added: “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.”
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According to the Financial Times, which first reported the story, the tie-up would also support Dixons Carphone’s ambitions around the internet of things, a key motive behind the initial coming together of Dixons and Carphone Warehouse in 2014.
This would mean that besides standard voice and data plans for smartphones, customers could rely on the MVNO to support smart domestic appliances, such as TVs.
Dixons Carphone is understood to have already developed a software platform to allow customers to manage other devices from their smartphones.
Sky also recently announced plans to become an MVNO through a partnership with Telefónica UK, which is currently in talks with Three’s owner Hutchison Whampoa over a possible sale of its O2 assets.
Sky plans to launch services to customers in 2016, establishing it as a quad-play operator with TV, telephony, broadband and mobile offerings.
Telefónica also has an MVNO agreement with Tesco Mobile.