Say what? The Post Office is about to become a mobile phone operator

In classic Post Office style, though, you'll only be able to get mobiles at 50 Post Office branches to begin with, and only after you've queued for three hours...

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 13 Jul 2015

Puzzling news from Post Office HQ: it turns out the company has got so tired of the letters business it’s planning a diversification – into mobile phones. Yep, Postman Pat is about to become Mobile Phone Shop Worker Pat, giving the likes of O2, Vodafone and EE a run for their money.

Well – not so much EE, given that when the Post Office’s new mobile offering launches in the autumn, it will actually run on EE’s network. (Incidentally, don’t confuse the Post Office with Royal Mail – a separate, though also privately listed, company).

What’s brought this about? Martin George, the company’s commercial director, attempted an explanation: ‘we believe we are in an ideal position to offer a genuine alternative… over a third [of people said] they would consider us as their mobile provider.’ Right.

As is standard with the Post Office, if you want a mobile phone, you might have to travel: at first, only 50 of its 11,500 branches will provide the service, although it’ll also offer it through its website and over the phone (which both have the advantage of shorter queues).

With Royal Mail privatised and various courier services trying to compete, the Post Office has gone from historic British icon to ‘just another communications business’ in record time. You can understand why it feels it needs to update. Whether it can survive the cut-throat world of mobile operators, though, is another question. 


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