Carphone Warehouse, now part of the Dixons group improbably titled Dixons Carphone, has today launched its own new UK mobile network, dubbed “iD”.
Quipping that the network is “designed for a data-driven generation” and boasting the “lowest priced” 4G plan in the current UK market, Carphone Warehouse says that iD is “built around what the customer wants,” and, “addresses consumer frustrations with current mobile phone plans.”
iD will become available as a network you can sign up with from May, but as with several other UK networks, it is part of an agreement between Carphone Warehouse and an existing major network for the former to use the latter’s infrastructure under its own branding, and with its own plans in place. Tesco Mobile already does this with O2’s network, for instance.
Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a better deal with such arrangements! iD promises “a set of market-leading, introductory offers,” with “increased contract flexibility,” and “greater access to free data roaming.” As well as this it also claims to have the “best value 4G” on the UK market.
So what about that blurb about tackling customer frustrations? Well iD is planning a three-pronged approach. First up is the dreaded “Bill Shock”, which iD wants to do away with by offering a “standardised bill each month” with “controlled and capped plans at the lowest price on the market.” Sounds good.
Next up is data roaming abroad. Apparently iD’s roaming plans “cover more European countries than anyone else”. Oddly enough it actually has more than Three, which also offers free roaming for quite a range of countries. iD’s grand total is 22, including non-EU countries Australia and the USA.
The last prong is “Flexibility”. iD is offering 12 month contracts (although all networks are required to by law, they just don’t have to put them up front and prefer to push 24 month ones, of course), and “the flexibility of shorter term commitment,” even on 4G.
As well as jumping in online, iD will be available to sign up to in all Dixons Carphone group stores including Currys, PC World, and of course, Carphone Warehouse itself.
iD CONFIRMS Pricing and Tariffs
iD has now unveiled the pricing for many of its tariffs, including the company’s “shock proof” 4G contracts which start from just £7.50 a month and are automatically capped in order to ensure there are no nasty surprises at the end of the month.
The £7.50 “shock proof” tariff comes with 150 minutes, 5,000 texts and 250MB of data and a Lumia 635 smartphone for no up-front cost. That isn’t much granted, but for younger users or those that don’t use their mobile phones all that much it should more than suffice.
iD’s “takeaway” plans start from £25.50 per month –– 24 months –– and include free roaming in 22 countries.
“SIM-only plans are available from £7.50 per month, along with data-only plans from £5 per month. One deal includes unlimited data, 2,000 minutes and 5,000 texts for £20 per month at launch,” reports The Telegraph.
For the more traditional user, iD has its “go to” plans which offers up 300 minutes, 5,000 texts and 1GB of data and a mid-range phone (the Galaxy A3 in this instance) for £13.50 (12 months) or £11.50 (24 months).
“iD gives increased flexibility and value to customers who are getting increasingly frustrated with the ‘one size fits all’ approach,” said Graham Stapleton, UK chief executive at Carphone Warehouse.
“Launching with a range of plans – including 12 and 24 month contracts alongside 30 day options – means we can offer solutions based on how customers actually use their mobile phone.”
“It’s quite a coup that iD piggybacks off Three’s network given that Carphone Warehouse hasn’t offered any deals from the network in years. Perhaps iD Mobiles was the olive branch,” said Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com. “The promise of 12-month contracts is likely to be a major win with mobile users who crave flexibility – we know that because of the rising popularity of SIM-only deals. The mobile market is seeing a big shift where consumers want to be in control, especially younger phone owners.”
He added: “But iD’s success all hinges on how keenly these shorter contracts are priced. We eagerly await more concrete details, in terms of cost and the full range of handsets that will be offered. Carphone’s ‘insider’ knowledge – from selling deals across most of the big players – means iD should be able to win customers round by both undercutting existing deals on the market and delivering added value to its contracts.
“If you’re a regular European traveller, iD’s free roaming proposition is a good one, with no extra to pay in double the number of European countries that Three’s Feel At Home covers. It’s only a shame that’s not extended to as many international countries as its network partner.”