TalkTalk dropping mobile to focus on broadband

The end of TalkTalk mobile

According to a report from the Financial Times TalkTalk is planning to sell up and withdraw from the mobile market.

TalkTalk is one of the few quad-play providers in the UK who offer combined mobile, landline, broadband and TV packages, but that is about to change.

Virgin, Vodafone and Sky are all said to be in the running, and TalkTalk mobile customers would transfer over to whichever company seals the buyout deal.

At the moment TalkTalk’s mobile service operates as an MVNO using the O2 network for calls and data.

Although the company once had plans to reach more than 4 million customers, it has only managed to snag 913,000 since launching in 2010 – so it’s no surprise to hear that TalkTalk is looking to throw in the towel.

TalkTalk has also suffered other challenges in recent years – the most notable being the loss of 157,000 customer account details to hackers in 2015. This particular bumble ended up costing the company £42 million as TalkTalk emptied its pockets to fix both its security problems and its damaged reputation.

Between 2016 and 2017, TalkTalk’s revenues have declined 3% and they are quickly losing their market share to the more successful quad-play providers, Sky, BT and Virgin Media.

By moving away from the mobile market, TalkTalk would be able to refocus their efforts into improving the broadband side of their business and, hopefully, start to turn things around for the company.

Mobile network operators, Three and O2, have each expressed interest in acquiring TalkTalk’s MVNO and customers.

If these plans go ahead, TalkTalk will continue to offer combined mobile service packages to their broadband customers through a partnership with whoever takes on their mobile arm.

O2 seems like the obvious choice, as TalkTalk is already using its network. But rival company Three “is on an acquisition spree and it has bigger ambitions than just remaining the size it is,” says independent market analyst, Matthew Howett.

Three recently bought Internet Service provider UK Broadband for £250 million.

A spokesperson from TalkTalk told the Financial Times that the company was looking for “a low touch, retail arrangement that will enable us to continue to offer a compelling mobile service to all our broadband customers.”


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