The U.K Post Office has launched Post Office Mobile, a new pay-as-you-go service over the EE mobile network, available nationally. Top-up transactions can be done at any of the Post Office’s 11,500 branches. If customers prefer to buy the mobile service over the counter, it will be available initially in 213 branches in northwest England before being rolled out across the network in the near future. Customers pay £0.08 (US $0.11) per minute to call landlines and mobile phones and £0.10 (US $0.14) per SMS. Thanks to a double top-up offer, users who buy a £10.00 (US $14.00) top-up in any 30-day period will receive £20.00 (US $28.00) of credit lasting for 30 days. The five bundles available range from £5.00 (US $7.00) for 250 minutes, 3,000 SMS and 500 MB of data to £20.00 (US $28.00) for 1,000 minutes, 3,000 SMS and 5 GB of data.
The post office in most countries is a trusted entity with a pre-existing customer base, so a postal MVNO offering would have a head start in terms of acquiring subscribers. Since a large percentage of the population in the U.K. already interacts with the Post Office, signing up subscribers at local branches could well be a seamless process. On the other hand, due mainly to the internet and mobile communications, postal services in the developed world are seeing a downturn in their traditional business, which makes diversification desirable. Expanding into mobile services could, perhaps ironically, be a good move for the U.K. Post Office.