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11 April 20123 Comments by Jon M

Impossible Telecom: a first look

It was almost a couple of months ago that serial entrepreneur Dan Lane nonchalantly announced that he’s starting his own mobile network. Dan Lane is no stranger whatsoever to tech start-ups having founded Howler Technologies and The Really Mobile Project. After finishing working at Bababoo he now decided that it would be a good idea to start his own virtual network. Amusingly called Impossible Telecom, it won’t be a true mobile network but rather will run on infrastructure masts and signal of one of the main networks in the country.

When he first announced Impossible Telecom, he expressed disdain at the race to the bottom exhibited by the other virtual mobile networks. No one is offering true innovation, just ever lower prices. And the markets pretty saturated already. Impossible Telecom aims to carve a niche for itself by offering something completely different.

Things have been kept pretty secret so far, but were finally started again idea of what exactly Impossible Telecom will be about. Dan recently gave a talk in which he expanded upon the very unique selling points his new mobile network will have. One of the premium features that is completely unavailable elsewhere is the ability to have multiple phone numbers on one SIM card. Those of us who have to juggle multiple phones for work and is for personal use know what a pain that is. You might even have tried one of those gadgets promises to be able to hold two SIM cards in one phone but without much joy. This promises to be a solution.

Not only that, but is also promising the inverse. That is, to have the same phone number on multiple phones or devices. This is a Google Voice-like feature that hasn’t reached the UK yet. And it’s fantastic for people who have different handsets for different situations or want to be contactable for example on their tablets. None of the main UK mobile networks have even tried to offer features like this before.

And it doesn’t stop there. Another great feature that is planning to offer with the ability to buy text call and data bundles. “What?” I hear you ask – “don’t all the mobile networks already offer that?” Yes but the Impossible Telecom version is going to have a slight twist. The bundles will apply across all your devices on Impossible Telecom. This means you don’t have to have separate bundles for each different device. If you buy 5GB of data you can split up however you wish between your phone, your tablet, even your wifi dongle or MiFi. How good an idea is that?

So what you think about Impossible Telecom? Are the other mobile networks falling behind with their lack of innovation? Would you use these new unique features and which one is your favourite? Please let us know in the comments below:

3 Responses to “Impossible Telecom: a first look”

  1. KE 19 April 2012 at 15:28 Permalink

    Interesting ideas, but I wonder what else you may be giving up in exchange for this promised innovation.

    One key item of value is your phone number, personal, and usage data. If you use O2 Wallet, I imagine even more financial details will be in the mix. Over the past couple years, O2 has basically switched (“Change is coming”) to aggressively harvesting this data (check the fine print in your new O2 Ts & Cs), by quietly switching customers’ to new contracts (new purchases, upgrades, or forced account migrations). They can then gather and share these data with a myriad of undisclosed ‘partners’ (the number of categories of O2 partners is bewildering) for marketing and other purposes. You can opt-out of the marketing use, but only if you know about it in the first place. Think loyalty card (data-sharing among partners) scheme without the rewards part (for now).

    In a recent forced migration from CPW’s billing platform, I lost my service entirely. That prompted me to go investigating my rights. FYI, GiffGaff has the same data use terms and conditions.

    Likewise, Orange’s recent ‘surprise’ price hike on mid-contract customers (also part of O2’s Ts & Cs), was not exactly consumer-friendly, although legal as it was stated in the fine print (which sadly few people read).

    I prefer transparency in all dealings (e.g. opt-in) and informed freedom of choice for the consumer. Perhaps Impossible Telecom will bring just that. We could sure use it in this increasingly murky sector.

  2. Mark 13 April 2012 at 21:00 Permalink

    An excellent set of ideas. Particularly the one number, multiple devices and data/call bundle shared between more than one device.

    If he adds transparent pricing for device finance and connectivity (use the data/minutes you pay for and more is the same price) then the over complex pricing model of the existing networks will be exposed.

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