Dixons Carphone to start its own mobile network with Three's help
The retail behemoth behind Carphone Warehouse, Currys and PC World is the latest to make a play in the transforming mobile phone landscape.
Richard TrenholmFormer Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Dixons Carphone is starting its own mobile phone network. The newly merged company that owns high street gadget and phone shops Currys, PC World and Carphone Warehouse is joining forces with Three for the network.
Although it's yet to be named, the new network is due to launch in spring. It's expected to offer data connection for devices including smart home appliances.
The new network will be a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), which means it will present itself to customers as a separate network but behind the scenes will use masts and other infrastructure belonging to a major network. In this case it's Three providing the hardware; other MVNOs include Tesco Mobile, which uses O2 masts, and Virgin Media, which uses EE.
2015 is set to be a year of huge changes in the mobile network landscape. BT is set to create a broadband, landline, TV and mobile behemoth by buying the largest network, EE -- itself formed from a merger of Orange and T-Mobile a few years before. Three's owner Hutchison Whampoa is snapping up O2, while Sky is planning an MVNO to round out its broadband, landline and TV portfolio.
A reduction in the number of major networks from five to three could spell less competition -- and therefore higher prices for customers -- but the announcement of new MVNOs could even that out.
"The launch will further intensify a highly competitive MVNO market in the UK," says industry analyst Kester Mann. All of these manoeuvres are subject to approval by telecoms watchdog Ofcom, but Mann believes this latest tie-up "could help smooth the path of regulatory approval for the Three and O2 deal".