Following the success of its UK mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) operation Tesco Mobile, which had garnered a million users by mid-2006, the food retailer is now eyeing a possible Irish MVNO launch in 2007. In what would be a first for the Republic, Tesco is looking to create a similar joint venture agreement to the one formed in the UK. Tesco Ireland will partner with O2 Ireland to set up a new unit, Tesco Mobile Ireland, drawing on the Tesco brand name and O2’s technical expertise.
The newcomer will have exclusive reign over the fledgling MVNO segment which has struggled to encourage any would-be operators, despite the regulator ComReg allocating MVNO numbers as long ago as April 2005. The announcement could open the flood gates, writes online portal The MVNO Directory, with the likes of Clever Communications, Dome Telecom, eircom, Minute Buyer, Perlico, BT and Carphone Warehave thus far frustrated in their efforts to find a willing carrier for their MVNO operations.