easyMobile Finds MVNO Game Isn't So, Uh, Easy

from the hard-mobile-doesn't-sound-right dept

The easyMobile MVNO launched to great fanfare in the UK last March, with many predicting its no-frills approach to mobile service would shake up the business, as it had done in air travel. However, it pretty quickly became clear that easyMobile wasn't doing very well, and that it looked like too many MVNOs were all targeting the same niche of the UK market. Now, comes word that after only attracting a total of 80,000 customers, easyMobile is shutting down. There's some disagreement between easyGroup and TDC, the company that ran easyMobile about who's to blame, but the basic reason is that the operator failed to attract enough users. All over the world, companies have leapt into the MVNO fray, seeing easy riches, but the failures outnumber the successes by a very wide margin as things never prove quite as easy as the operators think. The problem is that their attempts at differentiation just aren't compelling to a lot of people: in easyMobile's case, calls may have been cheap, but perhaps people didn't like that they had to bring their own handset, and couldn't buy one at a subsidized price; perhaps moves by incumbent operators to cut their own prices made the savings less attractive alongside the hassle of changing providers. One final footnote: true to its cheapskate values, easyMobile let its customers know it was closing down and that they'd need to find another operator via SMS. easyGroup says it plans to relaunch easyMobile later with another partner, but it's hard to imagine suitors will be beating a path to their door.
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