The People's Operator (TPO) is a little mobile virtual phone operator currently offering an “annual conference deal” to backers of the British Labour Party. Switch to TPO before 31 October 2013 and you can get unlimited calls, unlimited texts and unlimited data for £14.99 per month.
That’s a penny cheaper than Virgin Media’s one with a 30-day contract making it the cheapest unlimited everything on the market. 10 per cent of the customers’ bill will go to Labour which means that they will get a minimum of just under £18 per year.
The operator uses EE and emulates Giffgaff’s low-cost, low-profile strategy. Launched less than one year ago, in November 2012, it shares 10 per cent of the customer’s bill with a chosen cause/NGO and has pledged to give 25 per cent of its profits to “help make things better”.
That budget is handled by the TPO foundation which is an independent body run by trustees and chaired by Sir Christopher Kelly, the current Chairman of the NSPCC.
Now it is not the first time that companies in the service sector bid for customers’ loyalties through charities or good causes. Supermarkets and financial institutions have been doing it for ages. However it is the first time that we’ve seen it in the mobile area and the first time for a political party, something which may prove to be akin to a double-edge sword.