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Brightstar deal means Post Office mobile network could be a thing

A dozen stamps, some parcel tape and a new SIM, please

The Post Office is ramping up its plans to become a virtual mobile phone network, with hardware distributor Brightstar being appointed to handle logistics for SIMs and phones.

The deal between the Post Office and EE to provide an MVNO, a virtual network with the Post Office brand, was revealed in 2012 when a Request for Information was sent out.

The launch came a step nearer in July when it was announced that EE would be the host network. Trade paper Mobile News confirmed last week that Brightstar has been appointed to handle logistics for SIMs and phones.

It’s unusual for the mobile networks to deal directly with MVNOs – they typically want huge cash advances and guarantees of usage. It’s more normal for MVNOs to work with wholesalers, who in turn who have agreements with the networks. These Mobile Virtual Network Enablers (MNVEs) aggregate minutes to the MNO.

The Post Office deal is through EE’s preferred MVNE, the French company Transatel. It is understood that there was a plan to test the Post Office MVNO through 50 of the Post Office's 11,500 branches at the end of 2014 but the beta was pushed back to this year.

Brightstar will handle the handset procurement for the Post Office as well as taking care of logistics, but was unable to provide any information thanks to the NDA it has signed with the Post Office.

The Post Office is in the process of streamlining its products and has just brought together its financial services under the brand of “Post Office Money”.

The route to establishing an MVNO is often tortuous. Last year it was revealed that power company SSE had failed to launch its MVNO and lost £25m in the process. ®

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