iD Mobile and BT ‘biggest winners’ at SIM-only

iD Mobile and BT ‘biggest winners’ at SIM Only

Market research firm, YouGov, identify BT and iD Mobile as the biggest winners among the growing MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators).

Instead of owning the infrastructure themselves, MVNOs deliver a mobile service through the Big Four network operators – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone.

BT now dominate MVNOs with a 21% share, up from 16% in just one year. iD Mobile – launched by Carphone Warehouse in 2015 piggybacking on O2’s network – has grown from 7 to 13 per cent in the same timeframe. iD Mobile and BT ‘biggest winners’ at SIM-only 1

For many years the mobile space has been dominated by the Big Four but recently their market share has been losing out to the smaller MVNOs.

Since 2010, the market share of MVNOs has doubled – now representing a third of the UK’s entire mobile user base.

This growth is partly due to the rise of SIM-only packages, which have quadrupled to 26% of mobile contracts sold over the last five years.

As SIM-only deals become increasingly popular, the shift towards MVNOs has accelerated drastically.

In December 2016, 56 percent of customers who changed networks switched to an MVNO – compared to 44 percent from March of that same year.

What’s more, the rising trend of quad-play packages represents further threat to the “big four”.

A quad-play package combines landline, broadband, TV and mobile into a single deal and it is looking to shake up the state mobile networks, according to the latest figures from YouGov.

With the recent launch of Sky Mobile, quad-play services are set to take a major stake of the UK telecoms market.

BT, Virgin and Sky all present the mobile of their quad-play services as MVNOs, using the networks of EE (BT and Virgin) and O2 (Sky).

BT and Virgin currently dominate the quad-play market, but now that Sky are adding their services into the mix, we’re likely to see more providers following suit.

It is too early to tell what portion of the MVNO market Sky can claim, but as Sky are one of the few that offer quad-play it certainly poses a substantial threat to the competition.

BT have definitely set a leading example by offering a £5 discount to broadband customers when add BT Mobile to their contract. This may seem like a small benefit, but it’s undoubtedly paying off with 87 percent of new BT Mobile customers also receiving BT Broadband, and 68 percent of them choosing a SIM-only deal.

If quad-play continues to grow in popularity, the Big Four mobile networks will need to find some way to break into other sectors in order to stay competitive with the likes of BT and Sky.


Samuel Newman is a consumer journalist and blogger based in Sheffield.
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