The Post Office on Tuesday revealed plans to launch an MVNO service in the U.K. running on EE's mobile network.

The service is due to go live in the autumn and will be made available initially at 50 Post Office branches, as well as online and over the phone.

A spokesman for EE told Total Telecom that the MVNO agreement includes access to its 4G network, but it is up to the Post Office to decide where and when it makes 4G services available to its customers.

A Post Office spokeswoman said the company will release more information later in the year.

Nick Wootten, head of MVNO at EE, told Total Telecom earlier this year that hosting an MVNO on newly-launched 4G infrastructure does make sense provided the business case stacks up for both parties. He said at the time that his company expected to announce a 4G MVNO deal "in the not-too-distant future".

Rival O2 UK already has 4G MVNO deals with low-cost international calling provider Lycamobile, Tesco Mobile – a joint venture between itself and supermarket chain Tesco – and giffgaff, which is currently trialling 4G services with a view to commercially launching later this year.

As for the Post Office, like in many countries, it was also the U.K.'s first telco, until BT – then called British Telecom – was spun out in the early 1980s. However, in 2007, the Post Office, which is still owned by the state, returned to telecoms with the launch of a fixed broadband and home phone offer, as it looked to use its well-known brand as a platform for new services and to stem losses at its core business.

"Launching our own mobile service, using EE's network, is a significant milestone in the Post Office's journey of change and a testament to our continuing efforts to offer more essential services for our customers," said Martin George, the Post Office's chief commercial officer, in a statement.

According to a survey carried out in June on behalf of the Post Office, 36% of U.K. consumers would consider choosing it as their next mobile service provider.

"This is a fantastic vote of confidence in the Post Office brand," George said.

The Post Office said it aims to differentiate its mobile services by offering "transparency in a market dominated by complex offers".

"We believe we are in an ideal position to offer a genuine alternative," said George.
 

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