Dixons Carphone looks to offload ID Mobile in Ireland

Struggling MVNO has sales of less than €6 million and losses of €11.4 million

Some sources suggest Dixons Carphone is likely to attract a number of interested parties for the Irish division of mobile operator ID Mobile. Photograph: Alan Betson

Some sources suggest Dixons Carphone is likely to attract a number of interested parties for the Irish division of mobile operator ID Mobile. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

The Irish division of the mobile operator, ID Mobile, has been put up for sale by Dixons Carphone, its listed British parent group.

ID Mobile was launched in the UK and the Republic just two years ago, but Dixons Carphone said on Wednesday it already plans to exit the Irish business because its model here costs more to operate.

It said its exit would “most likely” be through a trade sale to a third party.

ID Mobile generated losses of £10 million (€11.36 million) in Ireland in the year to the end of April, on sales of just £5 million, according to Dixon Carphone’s preliminary annual results.

When it was launched in 2015, it targeted 5-6 per cent of the market, or up to 250,000 subscribers, but industry sources say it struggled to make an impact.

19,000 customers

Its subscriber numbers are not large enough to be disclosed in the industry reports by ComReg, the communications regulator. Sales of £5 million, or €5.7 million, suggest ID Mobile had an average of about 19,000 customers over the last 12 months, based upon the industry average revenues of about €300 annually per subscriber.

Some sources suggested that Dixons Carphone, which owns Carphone Warehouse, is likely to attract a number of interested parties for the Irish business. However, the parent group said on Wednesday night that the process was at an early stage, suggesting that a sale, if there is to be one, is not close.

If Dixons Carphone does succeed in finding a buyer for the business, any transaction is likely to be small. ID Mobile is an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator), which piggybacks on the network of another operator, Three Ireland.

It has no network of its own, and would effectively only be selling its customer book and MVNO agreement with Three.

ID Mobile was created out of the takeover by Three of O2 Ireland. The European Commission demanded that Three give MVNO agreements with guaranteed capacity to two new operators as part of the deal, to increase competition. Virgin Mobile was the other MVNO created.