We spent the morning with The People's Operator; a new type of mobile operator which isn't designed solely to help the end user, but to help causes, charities and people across the UK. In their own words TPO are 'the new operator that matters,' but why?
The People's Operator is utilising the accessibility of mobile phones in modern day society as a means to help boost donations and support to charities and communities by offering a slice of their own profits to push causes nationwide. We heard from the likes of Tom Gutteridge: Co-founder of TPO, alongside representative Esther Rantzen as to why the potential behind these brand new type of mobile operator is so great.
In the eyes of TPO, the hook for consumers is that, if they choose to make use of the new network, they’re making a difference simply by using their phone as they normally would. The company were explicit in that they don’t want to have to make donating a hassle and they don’t want consumers to have to change their mobile habits to make use of the charitable aspect of this new service. The way it works is that 25% of all profits made by TPO go to a number of charitable organisations via The TPO Foundation, such as the NSPCC and Childline and indeed Esther Rantzen, who is a trustee for one and President of the other, mirrored the sentiments of TPOs creators when she said that ideals behind carrier offer "the most brilliant way of helping people, as a team. "
Customers will not only be able to help simply by sticking a TPO SIM in their phone, if they wish, they can opt to donate a further 10% of the expenditure from their mobile usage to essentially any cause of their choosing, whether it be a charity, a community centre or even an animal shelter, those consumer who want to take a more hands-on approach to donating can.
The People’s Operator website, which is now live, is the sole location for potential customers who want to pick up a SIM or find out more about how the company operate. For the moment SIM-only PAYG rates are on offer, but during the start of 2013, they’ll also offer competitively priced contracts with a range of phones and smartphones. To make this happen, TPO utilise EE’s network nationwide and thus have some of the most comprehensive mobile coverage at their disposal, not to mention, they’ll be able to offer 4G to consumers soon too.
Prices for the contracts have yet to be announced, but new PAYG customers will see the following rates: texts cost just 7.5p each, calls cost 12.5p per minute and data clocks in at 12.5p per MB, whilst calls and texts to other TPO users are absolutely free. The carrier are also going to be offering bundles that incorporate various allowances in one simple cost. Full pricing and comparisons with the other leading networks can be seen on the company’s new website, which also allows users to allocate the additional 10% donations and manage multiple SIM cards through a single account.
Clearly the success of this network hinges on the volume of ethically-minded mobile users out there willing to switch to TPO and the brand’s ability to get noticed in a crowded and complex telco market. We personally love the idea and the structure around it seems like a solid base with which to build the first mobile operator of its kind. If you want to find out more you can also head to the company’s Twitter feed or search for the hashtag #mobilethatmatters.