updated 08:00 am EST, Mon November 19, 2012
Claims to offer 25 percent of profits, 10 percent of bills to charity
A new phone network in the UK has launched, with a focus on donating to charity. Titled The People's Operator, the carrier will offer a quarter of the company's profits to good causes through its own charitable foundation, as well as allowing customers to donate 10-percent of their monthly costs directly to a cause of their own choice.
Operating as a MVNO and using Everything Everywhere's mast system, TPO is currently offering pay-as-you-go packages without handsets, though hopes to move towards SIM-only contracts next year. The carrier also hopes to take advantage of the EE network by offering its own branded 4G service in the future, though this is likely to be launched after Three's version becomes available.
While a significant portion of finds from each bill will be going to charitable causes, this does not appear to be affecting the prepaid prices. Calls to other mobile networks at 12.5p ($0.20) per minute is half that of most other prepaid service, while texts are also at the lower rate of 7.5p ($0.12) each. Calls and texts to other users of TPO will be free, but subject to a relatively-undefined fair usage policy. While the calls and texts are cheap, the 12.5p ($0.20) per megabyte base rate charge for mobile data is less so, forcing smartphone users to either pay for a hefty data bundle or to think carefully about joining the network.
In contrast to the mainstream networks, TPO will forgo opening its own network-branded stores. Instead, the company is likely to leverage its work with national charities such as the NSPCC and ChildLine to offer SIM cards through their network of charity shops.