EE MVNO the Phone Co-op has seen mobile customer numbers rise by over 20% to more than 11,650, with mobile sales increasing by over 31% during the past 12 months.
The MVNO said its drive into mobile has been boosted by its MVNO deal with supermarket retailer the Co-operative Group and its exclusive deal with smartphone manufacturer Fairphone.
The Phone Co-op’s deal with the UK’s fifth largest supermarket chain, which was sealed in February last year, saw the launch of a PAYG MVNO service across the group’s 3,800 Co-op stores. The deal also sees its Sim cards sold in independent co-operative societies across the UK.
Phones Co-op campaign manager Antonia Blinkhorn told Mobile: ‘From an external perspective the Co-operative Group deal has been very successful. Our products are out in 3,800 stores and we have thousands of new customers. ‘Research that we’ve done on our PAYG customers so far shows that they’re more than happy with the product due to its great pricing and fair charging mechanism.’
She added that the Co-op’s plans to upgrade stores could see sales strengthened. She explained: ‘From our own perspective we’d like it to be even more successful, and we have high hopes for the recent refurbishment programme putting our product on permanent branded in-store fixtures in Co-op Group stores.’
The Phone Co-op’s mobile sales have been given added momentum by its exclusive deal with smartphone manufacturer Fairphone to stock its ethical smartphones (pictured). The deal is part of Phone Co-op’s ethical strategy to raise consumer awareness of the mobile phone industry’s use of metals from militia-controlled mines in Africa and unethical employment practices in smartphone factories.
Blinkhorn said: ‘Fairphone is a great success story of social and ethical values aligning, which cements the ethos to which we work. We’ve sold 1,031 Fairphones so far since launch in mid-September, of which 66% are entirely new customers to us. ‘This is impressive from our initial buy of 500, and we only have 497 left in stock from a further buy of 1,000, leaving Fairphone with no more handsets to sell internationally.’ The MVNO, which offers mobile, fixed line and broadband services to its 30,678 customers, is also looking to expand its presence in the b2b market this year.
The Co-operative Business Telecoms, which is the business services arm of The Phone Co-op, provides a range of cut-price mobile plans, including low-cost, inclusive solo and shared bundles, and Pay as You Use tariffs. Business customers vary from a few volunteers to large social enterprises.
‘Our business mobile accounts are only 8% of total business customers, so our aim for 2015 is to increase this,’ Blinkhorn said, adding: ‘Increasing the reach of our different services to business customers is part of our new strategy plan for 2015.’