TalkTalk joins BT in MVNO race to the bottom

UK telco TalkTalk has jumped on the low-cost SIM bandwagon in the wake of BT’s move into the mobile market, offering aggressively low-priced mobile services to go along with its domestic broadband package.

It claims to have launched the country’s lowest priced unlimited SIM-only plan, with unlimited data, calls and minutes being included for existing broadband customers. Priced at £12 per month, the move appears to be a direct riposte to BT’s MVNO announcement of 20GB of 4G data for £20 per month.

“We’re revolutionising mobile with our new unlimited SIM,” said Tristia Harrison, TalkTalk’s consumer MD. “We’ve successfully driven down the average cost of broadband and TV packages in Britain, giving millions of families more for their money. Now we’re doing the same for mobile. Savvy shoppers are realising that a separate mobile package costs significantly more than taking it together with their broadband and TV. And our great value All-in mobile SIM isn’t just for people streaming and downloading day in day out. For those simply after the best price, this is an unbeatable deal.”

Ernest Doku from comparison website reckons TalkTalk’s announcement has the potential to further enhance competition in the converged telecoms marketplace.

“On the heels of major launches in the SIM-only space from both BT and Carphone Warehouse, TalkTalk’s deal seems set to make this corner of the market – acutely driven by value for money – even more combative,” he said. “Combining the freedom of a 30-day rolling contract with an unlimited data allowance at the all-important sub-£15 price point makes TalkTalk’s new offer hugely compelling, and is likely to cause real disruption to the bigger players.”

Digging a little bit deeper, however, reveals several stipulations in the offer which suggests this may be a defensive, “me too” strategic move from TalkTalk.

Firstly, the deal is available for the next two months, with purchase of the all-in SIM at £12 valid until the 30th June.

Additionally, if a broadband customer were to cancel, the terms of the SIM package alter radically.

“If a customer cancels their TalkTalk broadband account, the cost of the All-in SIM will rise to £24 a month and the package will change to 2000 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of data a month,” said a TalkTalk statement.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, TalkTalk only offers 3G, so it remains to be seen how much “streaming and downloading day in day out” customers will be able to do.

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