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Stelios to hop into bed with T-Mobile

Serial entrepreneur plans discount mobilephoneco

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The launch of a new discount mobile phone service from serial entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou could be just weeks away according to the Financial Times. It reports that T-Mobile and Stelios' Easy Group are set to ink a deal within the next fortnight or so that would see the Deutsche Telekom's mobile division provide a wholesale mobile service for Stelios' latest venture.

In August, Easy Group confirmed plans to team up with Danish telecoms outfit - TDC - to launch a low-price mobile phone outfit in the UK with the option to roll-out the service in a further 12 European countries. While TDC will work the front end dealing with punters, billing and marketing under the Easy brand, Stelios needed a mobile phone operator to provide the network. It now looks like T-Mobile is prepared to hop into bed with the other two to complete this mobile menage a trois.

According to analysts Strand Consult, Easy Mobile will be a British copy of the "very successful Danish discount mobile service provider Telmore", which is owned by TDC. Set up in 2001, Telmore's success is based on the fact that it kept things simple. It only sold SIM cards (not handsets) and customers bought and paid for their mobile minutes and SMS messages online. Payments were made via credit card or bank account and customers can only use the available minutes on their accounts.

Said Strand Consult: "The results were tremendous. In just three years Telmore acquired nearly 500,000 customers out of a total market of just 4.7 million mobile customers - a market share of 11 per cent, almost double Virgin Mobile's UK results after five years."

According to the experts, Telmore's success is based on low prices and simple tariffs - something Stelios wants to replicate in the UK. ®

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