QUAD PLAY provider TalkTalk has hinted that it could be ready to ditch its mobile offerings altogether in favour of a home broadband heavy offering which includes mobile as an add-on, much as Virgin Media does.
A report in the FT (paywalled) suggests that the company has shelved any plans for its own MVNO network (it currently uses O2's network) and instead look at partnership offerings with an existing provider, which would look after everything at their end - in other words, TalkTalk would sell, then butt out.
A spokesperson told the FT, "We are in advanced discussions with a number of potential partners, including O2, to agree a low touch, retail arrangement that will enable us to continue to offer a compelling mobile service to all our broadband customers."
That at least suggests that that is that. However, there's no official word as yet. TalkTalk is still tainted with the spectacular leak that happened back in 2015 and has been constantly looking for ways to move on, with warm fuzzy family imagery in its advertising.
However, it may or may not be that Sky's dive into the mobile market could be the final straw. The decision by the company to offer a very attractive rate to its TV customers of which there are 8.8m (BARB, Jan 2017) compared with 913,000 on TalkTalk's hybrid YouView platform, means that the audience for a quad play offer might not be financially viable by comparison.
MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) are on the rise. As well as the likes of iD (Dixons Carphone) and Lebara, there are also an emerging set of sub-brands from the operators of the real time networks. O2 has GiffGaff, whilst just this week Vodafone has launched Voxi and Three announced SMARTY.
Meanwhile, high street names are starting to realise that MVNOs are not a cash-cow, with brands such as Sainsbury's and The Post Office having already left the market.
With TalkTalk already operating under a blemished record, it's questionable exactly what the big selling point is going to be going forwards, but it's fair to say that this move away from mobile could be part of a major revamp of the brand. Or not. µ
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