Thursday, 8 August 2013

Mobile Phones in London

The mobile phone sector in the UK is vast, with London constituting the nucleus of its commercial yields. There are a number of key players in the mobile sector in the UK, each occupying a certain position on the production and supply chain. These cardinal players in the UK mobile sector comprise the following: Manufacturers of handsets and accessories; Network operators; Service providers and mobile virtual network operators; and dealers.


Manufacturers of handsets and accessories, such as Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and so on, supply phones to network operators, mobile virtual network providers, indirect service providers and dealers.

Network operators

The network operators; O2, Vodafone, Three and Everything Everywhere, own the airtime. They trade in different ways, such as: distributing their airtime to tied service providers,
selling airtime to indirect service providers and mobile virtual network operators, selling a complete package to the customer etc.

Service providers and mobile virtual network operators

Initially, the first mobile phone networks, BT Cellnet (later to become O2) and Vodafone, were obliged to use service providers. These are responsible for network connection, customer billing and managing dealers. These are referred to as tied service providers – i.e., they are only responsible to the network they are affiliated to.
There are also independent service providers who sell phones, accessories and rental contracts to dealers and direct to the customer. Independent service providers generally operate over the phone or via the internet rather than from a retail outlet. Independent service providers purchase airtime from the network operators and handsets and accessories from manufacturers. Because they have purchased the airtime from the networks, they are free to set their tariffs; and these will not always be the same as what the networks themselves would offer. The service provider is responsible for billing the customer and for providing customer care.
Mobile virtual network operators work in a similar way to service providers, but on a larger scale. Unlike service providers, mobile virtual network operators usually have their own SIM cards - it may appear to the customer that the mobile virtual network operator is the network operator. Examples of mobile virtual network operators include giffgaff and Virgin Mobile.


Dealers operate out of retail outlets and sell mobile phones and accessories to retail customers. A dealer may have a variety of suppliers, including indirect service providers, network operators, wholesalers and manufacturers. In many cases, dealers organise connections through service providers, rather than directly through one of the networks.

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