Mobile provider Three is bringing forward the launch of its new cheap SIM Only mobile brand Smarty, and aiming it squarely at young people.
Smarty – which runs with the tagline ‘Simple, Honest Mobile’ – is in the very early stages of launch.
There’s nothing to see on the Smarty website just yet: there’s little more than an email signup and a couple of basic details about the new company.
Signing up to the list gives you an confirm subscription email from the team at Smarty which says: “Building the simplest, most honest mobile network has been exciting and we’re gearing up for launch at this very moment. You’ll be among the first to know when we have.
In the meantime, if you have any questions or would like to find out more about SMARTY you can email the team. email@example.com.”
For now, all potential customers can do is stick in an email address and wait for news.
It’s not immediately clear that Smarty is being run by Three.
But a WhoIS domain lookup on smarty.co.uk reveals a registrant based in the British Virgin Islands: GDH (BVI) Limited, linked to CK Hutchison Holdings, Three’s owner.
And if you sign up for updates, Smarty’s head office address is given as Star House in Maidenhead – the same location as Three’s UK head office.
It marks the first time that Three has launched a sub-brand onto the UK mobile market.
The Financial Times managed to do some digging and found that Smarty would launch with prepaid monthly SIM Only contracts.
It’s likely that these contracts will be of the 30-day rolling variety, offering the kind of flexibility to sign up then drop out that Three believes younger people really want.
Data bundles will make up the main thrust of the Smarty deals on offer, which will also include free calls and texts depending on the usage package.
Google adverts for the brand tout: “No Contracts, Full Flexibility, No Credit Checks, Discount on Unused Data.”
This refund for leftover data could well add an appealing strand to the Smarty brand.
Three will work out how much you’re due for a refund depending on the data that’s left over at the end of every month, then deduct it from the following month’s bill.
We’re not robots. We’re not watching exactly the same amount of Youtube or Netflix every single month, and our habits will vary over time.
So if you’ve been cautious and bought yourself a big whack of data it’s annoying when you don’t use it all up.
That’s what Smarty hopes to tap in to.
We already have data rollover from other SIM Only deals from MNVOs like Virgin, giffgaff and iD Mobile, but it looks like Smarty hope to define themselves with actual cash refunds.
You’ll likely buy a SIM Only Smarty deal with monthly data caps, reportedly of 500MB, 2GB, 6GB or 20GB at the top level.
There’s a real hunger for mobile providers to be transparent with their customers – in terms of how and what they charge, but also in terms of the data that these big companies have on all of our mobile usage.
If you’ve ever tried to calculate how much data you use a month so you can buy the right SIM Only deal, you’ll know what we mean.
We know wages and household spending are falling, and big-ticket items like broadband and phone contracts tend to be the first to get cut, or switched to cheaper deals.
So, promising transparency, fairness and value for money could be a big winner for this new Three offshoot.