New UK mobile network The People's Operator aims to be ethical
A new charity-based mobile phone network has launched in the UK. The People's Operator wants to appeal to the altruistically minded, aiming to offer a quarter of its profits to charity.
The network has been co-founded by Andrew Rosenfeld, the man responsible for co-founding investment and development firm Minerva as well as working for the Labour party, along with Mark Epstein and Tom Gutteridge. The trio are the only shareholders.
"We want to make a difference," says Gutteridge.
"It matters because you get a great deal while making a huge difference. In order to attract people, we need to give them what they want.
"We knew if we wanted to do something like this we needed to go with the largest mobile network in the UK."
The People's Operator is piggy-backing off EE's mobile phone masts.
There are plans for SIM-only contracts next year, but for the meantime things will be pay as you go only. For those on the network, calls and texts will be free to each other. Prices and deals for pay-monthly offerings are yet to be announced, but on PAYG you are looking at 7.5p for a text and 12.5p for voice calls.
As for the charitable donations, 25 per cent of the money you pay goes into a foundation set up by The People's Operator, with you being given the option to allocate a further 10 per cent to a cause of your choice.
"Uniquely that doesn't have to go to a charity. It can go to your local youth centre or school," Gutteridge explained. 'People can really make a difference to communities.
"We aren't asking people to do anything different. Just keep doing what you are doing. You have the ability to carry on with your daily life, but every time you make a call or text you make a difference."
The People's Operator is based in Shoreditch in east London and should have an in-house call centre up and running at launch.
There are no plans for stores, with The People's Operator remaining totally online. However there have been partnerships set up with charities within the UK, such as the NSPCC and The Trussell Trust, which helps local communities in the UK and Bulgaria.
Exact plans haven't been announced, but we imagine that SIMs will be sold within the charity stores.
For those interested in being a little more ethical with their calling, The People's Operator website is now live so you can register for a SIM.
UPDATE The People's Operator has announced that 4G will be coming to the network "as and when it becomes available", according to Mark Epstein. We expect this to be in the new year, soon after Three announces its 4G plans.