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Phones 4U scrambles onto EE's back, flings out own virtual network

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Phones 4U, the mobile phone retailer, is launching a mobile virtual network that piggybacks on EE's infrastructure so it can offer 4G later in the year.

The network will be known as Life Mobile, and joins a roster of 69 or so so-called MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) running in the UK. Of these, 25 are already camped on EE's network - but most appeal to a specific demographic (such as Chinese speakers) or sell into enterprises; a handful are aimed at the general consumer, as Life Mobile will be.

Other than that we have few details - the news comes from an EE release and says the network will go live in March. Phones 4U isn't saying anything right now - prices and tariffs are promised in the next few weeks.

But we have the usual canned statements, with Phones 4U chief exec Tim Whiting saying how marvellous it's all going to be, with Life Mobile sold alongside mobile operator contracts, which Phones 4U will continue to support. The shops sold 1.6 million mobile phone contracts in 2012.

We also have quotes from EE saying it will let Life Mobile customers onto its 4G network later this year, presumably after the company's UK monopoly on 4G wears off - some time around June - which should allow the other networks to deploy some 4G goodness. ®

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