BT plans mobile comeback as ‘virtual’ service provider

BT is returning to the mobile phone market at the end of this month with a new service called Mobile Sense.

The telecoms company abandoned the market in November 2001 when it sold off its mobile arm, mmO2. BT has now signed a deal with O2 to buy wireless capacity from the mobile network, and will operate as a “virtual mobile phone” business.

BT will sell its mobile phones solely through its website to target the niche market of men aged 25 to 45 and to boost its number of online transactions.

BT claims that the type of package it offers sets it apart from other service providers. When customers visit the site, they can select their own call-charge package based on the types of calls they make and the number of text messages they send.

“We offer a flexible solution for people who like to be in control of their affairs,” says a BT spokesman.

As with standard mobile phone packages, customers have to pay a monthly line rental and sign up to a 12-month contract.

BT will offer customers a choice of 12 mobile phones, which range in price from £10 to £199, from handset manufacturers such as Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola. Included in the range will be the Sony Ericsson T68i, which has a plug-in camera that enables users to receive and send pictures.

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