Phone retailer Carphone Warehouse (CPW) has signed an agreement with Hutchison Whampoa to offer a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service in the Republic over the network of the Hong Kong firm’s Irish operation, H3G Ireland (3 Ireland). Local press report that having finalised the deal, an official announcement is expected next week. According to The Irish Times, CPW – which already operates an MVNO in the United Kingdom under the Talkmobile brand – declined to comment on the signing, which marks the second MVNO deal arising from Hutch’s EUR850 million (USD1.15 billion) takeover of O2 Ireland. As one of the conditions of the takeover, Hutch had to agree that the enlarged O2-3 Ireland entity must help set up two new MVNOs in the local market, and soon after the deal was ratified, cable networks services provider UPC Ireland confirmed the signing of an MVNO deal with 3 Ireland.
It is understood that CPW’s deal with 3 Ireland will allow it to use up to 15% of 3’s network capacity at a fixed price. This incentivises CPW, which has about 90 retail stores in Ireland, to sign up as many customers as possible to defray the fixed cost, the paper writes. CPW – which has already amassed 500,000 subscribers to its UK MVNO – is said to be targeting Meteor Mobile’s typical users. The Eircom-owned cellco has been traditionally associated with the lower ‘value end’ of the mobile market.