There’s a fair chance you’ve never heard of iD Mobile. That seems to be the reaction I’ve always got when I tell people what network I’m on. It’s a real shame as iD entered the Irish market two years ago to shake things up with a great concept, eventually delivering but never gaining momentum. Today, Dixons Carphone announced their preliminary results for 2016/2017. Contained in these results they announced their intention to remove iD Mobile from the Irish market.
— Goos3D (@Goos3D_IE) June 28, 2017
Who Is iD Mobile?
iD Mobile is an MVNO powered by Carphone Warehouse which runs on the Three mobile network. Following Three’s acquisition of O2 in 2013, the EU ruled that to preserve competition in Ireland, Three must support the creation of new networks. This ultimately led to iD Mobile and Virgin Mobile being created.
iD is a fairly innovative network, which keeps the cost of your phone and plan separately in the interest of transparency – a feature replicated by Virgin Mobile. Since their launch in 2015, iD Mobile has failed to make an impact on the Irish market and was dogged with technical issues and poor handset ranges. This paled in comparison to the UK equivalent of the network which continues to go from strength to strength. iD Mobile’s poor performance in Ireland has ultimately led to the news today that Dixons Carphone plans to cease the MVNO’s operations in Ireland.
iD Mobile Set to Leave the Irish Market
We have made the decision to exit our iD mobile operations in the Republic of Ireland
In their annual preliminary report, Dixons Carphone, the umbrella group for Currys, PC World, Carphone Warehouse and iD Mobile, outlined various areas of success the business was enjoying. It concluded a generally positive roundup of the UK and Ireland by stating their plans to remove iD Mobile from Ireland:
“We have made the decision to exit our iD mobile operations in the Republic of Ireland. The iD mobile operations in the Republic of Ireland represent a different business model to the UK, as it is a capacity MVNO with options for expanding its spectrum. This brings with it excellent control, but that comes with upfront costs and increased administration, and we believe the business will flourish faster under dedicated ownership.”
Who Will Buy iD Mobile Ireland?
It’s still all speculation as both Carphone and iD Mobile have remained tight-lipped since the announcement. Looking to international markets for inspiration, here’s who could be Ireland’s next MVNO:
Sky Mobile Ireland
I can’t imagine there are many organisations more interested in this news than Sky Ireland. Having just launched an MVNO in the UK, the scene would appear to be set for Sky to buy up iD Mobile. This would level the playing field between Sky and Virgin Medias customer offerings as all iD customers become Sky customers. It’s not going to be Three-gate all over again so don’t expect to be getting a free phone if you’re in a contract.
SuperValu Mobile Ireland
If Sky isn’t the one to swoop in, things could get really interesting. While travelling recently I couldn’t help but notice a lot of German supermarkets, like Aldi and Lidl, have their own mobile networks. Tesco Mobile has taken an impressive 6.1% market share since its inception, so it’s likely other brands want a piece of the cake. In the UK, ASDA has shown there’s space for two grocery MVNOs.
Irish grocery giant, SuperValu, has shown interest in MVNOs in the past, commissioning Webfactory to investigate what their online presence would look like. SuperValu has also expanded their interests into car insurance recently, suggesting they see the benefit in providing additional services for their customers.
SSE Airtricity Mobile Ireland
Ok, so this one is reaching a fair bit but Airtricity did try to launch an MVNO in the UK back in 2014. This was halted by the UK energy regulator. Mobile plans contribute to the maximum of five plans electricity providers are permitted. After sinking £25 million into the setup, SSE Airtricity Mobile was dead in the water.
Ireland’s energy regulator doesn’t have similar rules. So, with regulation issues unlikely to hamper SSE making a move in Ireland, but the events in the UK will surely have hurt.
Red Bull Mobile Ireland
Ah, Red Bull. Is there anything they won’t put their name on? F1 cars, football teams, extreme sports and wakey-wakey juice. Red Bull seems to have an endless stream of ideas and money. Personally, I’d love to see them enter the MVNO market in Ireland – and it’s a business they know.
Red Bull Mobile Ireland wouldn’t be Red Bull’s first MVNO. They already have a network in both Austria and Poland. They would have the fire power iD Mobile lacked to capture the public’s attention.
Magnet Mobile Ireland
Mainly because I have little to no life, I was browsing ComReg’s Quarterly Report and came across Magnet. Magnet is a fairly well-known broadband provider, especially in areas that can’t get traditional fast broadband. Magnet would be an ideal fit as Ireland’s next MVNO as they already offer Aer TV, a digital service similar to Saorview. eir and Virgin Media have already shown TV and mobile are a good combo in Ireland, with Sky doing the same in the UK. I’d consider Magnet another outside shot, but surely another option for Carphone Warehouse to consider.
I’d consider Magnet another outside shot, but they do fit. BlueFace is a similar service provider also offering business lines which runs an MVNO so Magnet is surely another option for Carphone Warehouse to consider.
These are just some of the companies that could be the next MVNO in Ireland, but the list of potential suitors is endless. Today, loyalty is worth a lot to big businesses. By adding mobile services, companies can increase the amount of revenue they generate per person. For that reason, iD coming onto the market has caught the attention of many.
There is one final possibility which I really hope doesn’t happen. iD might not be sold and eventually cease to exist.
When Will All This Happen?
With the limited information we have, it’s impossible to know how long this will take. Should a prospective buyer like Sky show interest, the process is likely to speed up quite a bit.
Once something get’s confirmed, we’ll update this post.