EasyGroup entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou has vowed, in an exclusive interview with Marketing Week,to shake up the mobile phone industry with his new venture easyMobile.
EasyGroup, which this year celebrates its tenth anniversary, has teamed up with Danish telecom company TDC and T-Mobile to set up the no-frills service, due to launch later this month.
The company will sell SIM cards over the internet, so it will not need to subsidise handsets or deal with retailers. The saving will allow it to offer cheap voice and text tariffs.
The sale of SIM cards over the internet was pioneered in Denmark by Telmore, now owned by TDC. Although the company captured ten per cent of the Danish mobile market in less than four years, some observers remain sceptical that Haji-Ioannou can replicate its success in the UK.
EasyMobile has been criticised for being late to launch and for targeting a niche market. But Stelios says: “Customers will vote with their feet and their wallets.
“It will work, if [Telmore’s] ten per cent of the population in Denmark is anything to go by. In any new business there is risk, but we have assembled a very good team. We have the easy brand; TDC, the incumbent operator in Denmark with deep pockets and 100 years’ experience; T-Mobile; and Frank Rasmussen [the founder of Telmore, who has been appointed chief executive of easyMobile], who has done it once and is here to do it again. We’re starting off with an A-team and we’re confident.”
Rasmussen has hired a local advertising agency in Stevenage to handle what will be a soft launch. The majority of early marketing activity is expected to be online.