Carphone goes mobile with Vodafone
Wednesday October 24, 2007
Carphone Warehouse has launched its own mobile phone service under its
TalkTalk residential telephony brand, aimed at high spending pre-pay
customers who want to save money but are wary of signing up to the 18-
month contracts that are becoming standard among the mobile networks.
Talk Mobile offers customers a bundle of calls and texts from £12 a
month on contracts as short as nine months. Carphone Warehouse reckons
there are 4.5 million pre-pay customers in the UK who regularly spend
upwards of £15 a month topping up their talktime. While these
customers do not want to sign up to lengthy contracts they will be
willing, Carphone Warehouse reckons, to sign a shorter contract to
Carphone Warehouse is using Vodafone's network to run Talk Mobile in a
move which City analysts cheered as a thawing of relations between the
two companies. Last year Vodafone stopped selling contracts through
Carphone stores, signing an exclusive deal with rival Phones4U. It
still stocks Vodafone pre-pay phones.
Carphone Warehouse offset much of the potential damage caused by the
loss of Vodafone's business by signing an exclusive deal with rival O2
which will make it the only independent retailer to stock this
Christmas' must-have gadget, the iPhone. But the loss of Vodafone's
lucrative contract business raised concerns among analysts that other
networks might break ranks with Carphone Warehouse or force through
much better deals, at the expense of the company's profitability.
The news that Vodafone has agreed to let Talk Mobile customers use its
network helped send Carphone Warehouse shares to the top of the FTSE
100 leaderboard at lunchtime on Wednesday.
"It is evidence that the relationship between Carphone Warehouse and
Vodafone is far from broken," said analyst Mark James at Collins
Stewart, "and could heighten speculation that the contract to sell
Vodafone subscriptions in the UK could return to Carphone Warehouse
The deal with Vodafone is a blow to T-Mobile which provides the
network services for Carphone Warehouse's existing low-cost mobile
phone offering, called Fresh.
Carphone Warehouse has offered the Fresh service for many years but
has never put much marketing spend behind it. While it will continue
to sell Fresh packages and service existing customers, Carphone
Warehouse is expected to focus more on Talk Mobile and its Mobile
World cheap international mobile calls services.
Although it carries the TalkTalk branding - not least on the Talk
Mobile website - the service is not a prelude to Carphone Warehouse
offering a "triple-play" service of home telephony, broadband and
mobile all through the one bill, said a spokesman. He said the company
has merely spotted a gap in the market, between the current pre-pay
and contract offerings, which it intends to exploit.
MANCHESTER (Guardian) - http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,2198207,00.html