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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Not so Easy MVNO

Well, it looks as if the bookies were correct and EasyMobile hasn’t made it to Christmas. The Financial Times (subscription) are reporting that EasyGroup has terminated its brand licence agreement with TDC of Denmark.

It looks as if the German operations with be rolled into the TDC German reseller, Talkline. There is still plans afoot to merge several of the big German MVNOs.

In the UK, the situation is slight more complicated as EasyGroup is looking for a new partner and apparently then there will be an orderly transfer of the customers to another provider. I am slightly confused as to who actually own EasyMobile now, EasyGroup or TDC.

Stelios Haji-Ioannou said the reason for the failure was a lack of investment by TDC after the leveraged buy-out early in the year. Personally, I suspect the reason is that the pre-paid is a lot tougher than in early 2005 now that the larger networks have moved back onto the playing field. In this environment, probably the new owners of TDC couldn't see an adequate return for investing more money and decided to cut their losses. Stelios is now threatening TDC with legal action, but I'm not so sure whether this action will ever reach court.

It was also noticeable that EasyGroup settled its case out of court with Orange. Of course, specific terms of the settlement are confidential. I am really disappointed with the settlement as I was looking forward to a surreal public slanging battle defining who owns the colour Orange and all the associated Pantone variations.

I will be regularly looking at the EasyMobile.com website to if see a subtle change of livery occurs and more importantly if it continues to supply goods.