New Lyca Mobile boss suddenly swaps O2 for BT as wholesale provider

A new CEO has precipitated a change in UK wholesale partner for MVNO group Lyca Mobile, to the surprise of some users.

The incumbent mobile network provider for Lyca was O2 but Richard Schäfer, who was only promoted from CFO to CEO last week, wasted little time in deciding it was time for a change. The company formally announced it was moving to BT (i.e. EE) this week, apparently after the change had already come into effect.

“The partnership with BT Wholesale is a critical milestone in Lyca Mobile’s strategy to target a broader section of UK mobile users with compelling offers designed to give consumers what they want from their mobile provider – which is quite simply cost-effective and high-quality services,” said Schäfer.

Network performance has become a vital concern for mobile users in a competitive market. Through the EE network, Lyca Mobile customers will not only enjoy the low-cost services we’re famed for, but will be able to enjoy super-fast connectivity and improved coverage. I also want to thank O2 for our many years of partnership.”

While O2 is doubtless grateful for Schäfer’s gratitude, the public inference that it was dropped because its network performance doesn’t measure up may be less well received. Lyca was also keen to stress the commitment it made at the start of this year not to raise prices is unaffected by this move.

“The deal will see Lyca’s entire customer base move across to EE in what is set to be record time, with BT Wholesale team showing industry-leading capabilities in ensuring a smooth transition of an MVNO between networks,” said Alex Tempest, MD, BT Wholesale. “We now look forward to working closely with Lyca Mobile as part of this new long-term partnership and aim to provide the best mobile experience for customers.”

Those customers could reasonably have expected to be the first to know about this move but, if the ISP Review forum is anything to go by, it had commenced before the press release was published. If performance is improved, and the switch goes as smoothly as the ironically-named Tempest expects, then the slight will soon be forgotten. But it still seems like a strange lapse in customer communications by Lyca.


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  • MVNOs North America

One comment

  1. Avatar Daniel Robertson 24/07/2023 @ 12:04 am

    My signal has not improved and we should have been notified and given the choice whether to stay or move to another provider.

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