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Chris over at Splendid flagged up a new MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) from O2: GiffGaff. It is a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) network that provides SIM cards only. It uses customers as prosumers in terms of marketing, product development and customer service.  I don’t know whether it will be successful, but I think that its interesting idea because it deals with a number of issues facing telecoms companies:

  • Customer services experiences with outsourced call-centres based in India have produced a certain amount of customer satisfaction
  • Mobile phone companies in many respects have lost market power as they have become pawns in a struggle for consumers to get the latest or greatest handsets. They are not alone, not even handset manufacturers have real power: consumers have the whiphand, if they realised it a lot of the telecoms business would be in trouble
  • GiffGaff in many ways is an admission of defeat as the mobile phone company just becomes a bit-pipe
  • GiffGaff in some ways is a testamony to fellow O2-based MVNO Tesco Mobile as GiffGaff is aimed at value-driven consumers that are a couple of generations younger than those targeted by Tesco. I also think Tesco’s adoption of the iPhone is no accident either