Mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse is to launch its own mobile network, called iD. The network will be what's known as a "virtual network operator", meaning it will piggyback on an existing provider's network - in this case, Three.
The announcement comes despite Carphone Warehouse not previously having offered any of Three's tariffs and services.
iD, which can be found at idmobile.co.uk, will launch in May, with Carphone Warehouse promising the new service will launch with a set of "market-leading introductory offers".
One of those launch offers will be the Samsung A3, available for a limited time on a 12 month 4G plan, with 300 minutes, 5,000 texts and 1GB data for £19.50.
Graham Stapleton, UK chief executive at Carphone Warehouse, said the new firm will offers caps and controls to prevent "bill shock"; flexible roaming plans for overseas travellers; and 12-month contracts rather than the standard 24-month tariffs.
"We've been listening to our millions of customers' network requirements and desires for years. In doing so we have identified some common challenges," Stapleton added. "People want greater flexibility from their plans and are fed up with the ‘one size fits all' approach.
Research from Which? last week revealed that failing to switch to a better deal once your existing mobile phone contract comes to an end your handset will likely end up costing you £92 more than it should. This is because providers merge the cost of their mobile tariff and the handset over the minimum term of the contract – which is typically 24 months. When the contract is up, if you don't switch you carry on paying for the handset unnecessarily.
"We are a generation obsessed with the mobile internet and accessing data and services on the move – things people are either paying too much for or just aren't getting," continued Stapleton. "Addressing these challenges forms the basis of the first wave of plans from iD."
Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, says: "The promise of 12-month contracts is likely to be a major win with mobile users who crave flexibility - we know that because of the rising popularity of SIM-only deals. The mobile market is seeing a big shift where consumers want to be in control, especially younger phone owners.
"But iD's success all hinges on how keenly these shorter contracts are priced. We eagerly await more concrete details, in terms of cost and the full range of handsets that will be offered."