Rumours are spreading that catalogue store Argos is going to offer its own mobile phone contracts later this year. There have been unconfirmed reports over recent days that Argos will launch it’s own pay monthly deals from its hundreds of UK stores. Analysts are saying that we could see Argos Mobile on the high street as soon as April 2013.
There is no firm news about the plans yet though. Initial reports suggest that they will start by trialling mobile contracts and, if things work well, will consider starting their very own virtual network. There is still no information about which operator they would run their services on.
It is thought that Argos is particularly keen on the move as its mobile income results have been particularly poor recently. The success of budget virtual networks such as Giffgaff and Ovivo have severely cut into their margins. This is especially the case as Argos has traditionally made good income on commissions from PAYG deals with the main network operators.
However, their plan to go into the contract market is risky and may not be well advised given it orders of magnitude more competitive than the PAYG market they are already struggling in. Still, it is reported that they are hiring industry experts such as Vodafone manager Ben Murr to help get the new service off its feet.
As well as contract services, it is thought that Argos will offer SIM-only deals too. The Argos network could turn out to be a strong competitor of rivals such as Phones 4u.
The official word from Argos has yet to come though. A spokesperson refused to confirm any of the rumours and proposed commercial partners have either denied or refused to comment on the plans.
However, despite this, the industry is abuzz with talk about this development. It is thought that if Argos can make the most of its existing customer base the new venture could be very successful. In fact, analysts are suggesting that Argos Mobile could grow its user base to a mid-six figure size within about two years of launching. This would make it one of the larger virtual mobile networks if this was realised.
What’s your take on this? Do you think that Argos Mobile would materialise? Can it compete with other virtual networks on price? And would you use it on your phone?