TalkTalk Apparently Doesn't Want to be in the Mobile Business Anymore

By Tom Pritchard on at

In the telecoms world there is a category of providers that offer quad-play services, i.e. they'll sell you TV, mobile contracts, broadband, and landlines. There aren't that many of them, with Sky, BT, Virgin, and TalkTalk being the only companies to offer all four.

That list might end up getting shorter, however, because TalkTalk has apparently decided it doesn't want to be in the mobile business anymore.

TalkTalk has been offering mobile contracts since 2010, piggybacking on Vodafone's, and later O2's, signal to do so. It had been considering setting up its own network infrastructure alongside O2, but those plans were eventually scrapped. Now the Financial Times is reporting that the company might be scrapping mobile altogether.

The FT claims that TalkTalk mobile would end up being replaced the telecoms provider collaborating with another network who will provide the actual mobile contract. Using O2 as an example, this would mean TalkTalk still sells the mobile plans (possibly bundled with the other three services) but it act as a third party seller similar to the likes of Carphone Warehouse. The entire mobile operation would be provided by O2, and customers would pay the network directly.

A spokesperson told the FT:

"We are in advanced discussions with a number of potential partners, including O2, to agree a low touch, retail arrangement that will enable us to continue to offer a compelling mobile service to all our broadband customers."

It's not a confirmation per se, but the phrase "low touch retail arrangement" certainly sounds like TalkTalk isn't going to be anywhere near as involved as it has been.

In the end, though, it's not that surprising. It's not quite as big a company as Sky, Virgin, or BT, and despite the fact that there are only four major networks the MVNO market is pretty crowded. While it currently has 913,000 mobile customers, some of whom are on quad-play deals, clearly that's not enough for the company not to consider alternative options.

We'll keep you informed should this news get confirmed by TalkTalk itself. [Financial Times (Paywall) via Engadget]


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