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Branson's mob to launch One2One-based mobile phone

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Virgin is to take on the UK mobile phone market with the launch of its own brand phones, running on the One2One network. The company yesterday outlined plans to have the phones on the shelves of its 220 Our Price shops and 85 Virgin Megastores by Christmas. This would give the group more mobile phone outlets than any other high street phone store. Virgin said the Our Price customer profile and age slotted neatly into that of mobile phone buyers. It had previously considered selling the Our Price chain, but now said it was perfect for launching Virgin Mobile. The deal with One2One is expected to be signed tomorrow. Virgin will be trying to cash in on the storming UK mobile phone market -- users have grown to over 17 million, from ten million a year ago. Last week the UK saw a mobile phone price war break out between the supermarkets and the high street, with retailers slashing prices by up to 50 per cent. The same week also saw a High Court ruling against the government, criticising it for aims to impose licence charges on the next generation of mobile phone operators. Ministers wanted the charges to force operators into letting rivals use their present networks. The legal decision could delay the auction for the five licences for the next generation of mobile phone network, which was due to start in January. ® See also: Mobile war spreads to supermarkets

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