7/21/2009 6:33:00 PM
Arab retailer Axiom harbours UK MVNO plans
Arab retailer Axiom Telecom is considering launching in the UK with a virtual network and is known to have been in discussions to buy Phones 4u earlier this year.
Axiom has operations in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and is hatching plans for India as well as the UK.
It is looking to capitalise on Middle East residents who leave for the UK in the hot summer months. It currently has just one store in Knightsbridge. VisitBritain claimed there were 282,000 people visiting the UK from the UAE in 2008, spending £289m.
Axiom CEO Faisal Al Bannai is known to have made a tentative enquiry last year to buy Phones 4u but fell away at an early stage.
Rival firm i2 made a bid for a Nokia UK distribution licence in 2008, and is also known to have considered an MVNO in the UK.
Speaking in a local publication, Al Bannai said: ‘A lot of our customers from Saudi Arabia and the UAE travel to the UK, especially in the summer, so it's another familiar face in a familiar neighbourhood where a lot of them go, where they can come for their phone and they can come for the services. It's more of a services and brand extension.’
He added: ‘And at the same time we get to keep our ear to the ground and keep an eye on the market. We were looking at the market, surveying the market.’