Ethical mobile brand launches

The People’s Operator, a charity-focused network in partnership with EE, has launched today (19 November) with a promise to deliver an “ethical” alternative by offering 25 per cent of its profit to “good causes.”

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Running on the EE network, The People’s Operator (TPO) will donate a quarter of its profits to a number of charitable initiatives with customers able to allocate a further 10 per cent to a cause of their choosing.

The network is currently available on pay-as-you-go deals only with customers paying 7.5p for a text and 12.5p for voice calls. Contracts covering data, texts and call bundles will launch in the new year.

The TPO says it has partnered with the “full spectrum” of handset providers in the UK to drive sign ups for its contract offering. It will also support 4G “as and when” it becomes available, the operator says.

Additionally, customers will also be able to use multiple SIM cards from a single account, rather than having to set up separate accounts for each SIM.

Tom Gutteridge, vice chair and co-founder of TPO, says: “In the ethical arena people assume you have to pay extra or do something you wouldn’t normally do to make a difference. People want to help out their local communities but due to the economic environment they can’t always do that. That’s not the case with the TPO. By linking the donations to something as routine as making a call or sending a text we’re saying to people you don’t have to do anything different.

“We want to make a difference. It matters because you get a great deal whilst making a huge difference. In order to attract people, we need to give them what they want. We know the telecoms market is tough but we feel we’ve got the right business model to really get cut-through. We knew if we wanted to do this we needed to go with the largest mobile network in the UK.”

Awareness for the service will be pushed through in-kind marketing from charities already signed up in support of the initiative including the NSPCC, Childline and the Dimbleby Cancer Centre. Charities will receive additional donations from the operator for delivering new customers. TPO predicts a significant uptake in demand over the coming months from similar organisations throughout Britain.

Corporations will also be key focus for the network. The operator aims to partner with businesses also in the coming months.

“We want to work with businesses about how the service could be good for CSR, branding and great for us as a growing company too”, adds Gutteridge.

The service joins the ranks of other mobile network operators such as Lyca and GiffGaff that do not own their own infrastructure and instead piggyback off the back of the four big telecoms firms; EE, O2, Vodafone and Three.

Andrew Rosenfield, chair and co-founder of TPO, says: “The TPO could be a gamechanger, principally for people, charities and businesses. We feel it has a international scale and if we build awareness with the right partners then there’s nor reason why it can’t become global.”

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