Things really are getting interesting in the mobile space across the pond in the UK. Since the end of 2014 we've seen BT bid to purchase EE, Three are apparently close to closing a deal to purchase O2 from Telefonica, Sky and O2 have signed a deal to create a virtual network and now Carphone Warehouse and Three are doing the same. The Financial Times is reporting that Three and Carphone Warehouse have signed a deal to offer a virtual network (similar to how Tesco Mobile operates on O2's network) to offer not just contracts on smartphones and tablets, but anything that will connect to the internet. With yet another player in the mobile arena, Carphone Warehouse could be the latest big name to shake things up.
Many of you will remember that Carphone Warehouse is now part of the Dixons Carphone group, a company formed out of a merger with the Dixons group (PC World, Currys and Dixons) and Carphone Warehouse. This means that a network operated by Carphone Warehouse could have a wider reach than something like Tesco Mobile, thanks to the hundreds of stores up and down the country as well as Carphone Warehouse stores inside Currys and PC World stores. Graham Stapleton from the Dixons Carphone group said the deal with Three will allow them to offer "something different from what is available elsewhere in the market with a more personalized service for the mobile customers that will let them tailor their price, minutes and data to their changing needs."
The network that Three and Carphone Warehouse are to form will offer (which is yet to be named) not just contracts on smartphones, but also data tariffs that will cover laptops, tablets and home appliances. Essentially, Carphone Warehouse's network will be all about the internet, and help the Dixons Carphone group bolster their offerings where the "Internet of things" is concerned. Smart home appliances are slowly becoming popular in the UK, with Currys and PC World stores offering smart lighting, fitness trackers and even the Nest thermostat.
Three would appear to be the best network to offer this sort of network as they're the only network in the UK to offer unlimited data as well as 4G at no extra cost regardless of tariff. I'm a Three customer, and I've been very impressed with both their pricing (I cut my O2 bill in half) as well as their data speeds and coverage. Whether or not Carphone Warehouse can offer such attractive pricing remains to be seen, but we'll have to wait until later this year as the network is set to launch during the Summer.