If you're unhappy with second class service from your phone network, you'll be interested to hear about a new network being delivered this year. The Post Office will start offering mobile service in the UK in Autumn.
Post Office Ltd is a separate company from Royal Mail, running post offices where customers can send parcels, exchange foreign currency, pay bills and much more. There are roughly 11,500 branches across the UK.
The Post Office already provides a landline phone or broadband to almost half a million customers and will now use mobile network EE's infrastructure to add mobile deals too. By using EE's masts and equipment to offer a mobile service, the Post Office becomes an MVNO. Other MVNOs using EE infrastructure include Asda Mobile and Virgin Media's mobile service.
Though prices haven't been revealed yet, the Post Office "pledges to offer customers great value for money and transparency in a market dominated by complex offers."
Mobile services will be available online, over the phone or, at first, from 50 Post Office branches. You'll be able to sign up in other branches around the country further down the line.
"No one could accuse the Post Office of resting on its laurels," says Rob Kerr of uSwitch.com. "First parcels, then travel money, then insurance, broadband and now mobile."
Adopting the masts and infrastructure of the first and most widely established British 4G network could pay off. "Partnering with EE is a clever move," says Kerr, "that could give the Post Office an edge when it comes to the growing 4G market."
The number of post offices across the country gives the new network a head start. Industry observer Shaun Collins of CCS Insight says, "the Post Office brand and distribution footprint will be envied by many with similar ambitions in mobile."
Postman Pat would be proud.
The question is whether that familiar red sign will be enough to win over mobile customers. "The Post Office is very late to the party," says Rob Kerr. "The new network will hope its trusted brand can convert mobile customers, but it needs to come up with an attractive package that will catch peoples' eye at the counter."