Carphone Warehouse launching flexible 'iD' mobile network next month

Does the UK need another carrier? Carphone Warehouse seems to think so. It's been rumoured for months, but finally the company is ready to unveil its own mobile network. "iD" will arrive in May and, as expected, be powered by Three's network infrastructure. What makes it special? Well, the retailer says it's focusing on a few key benefits. The first is "controlled and capped plans," which it claims will be the cheapest on the market. It's also emphasising "flexible" 12-month contracts and 30-day SIM-only plans.

Its biggest differentiator, however, is arguably international roaming. iD customers will get free access to their normal data allowances in 22 countries, which tops even Three's current offering. At launch, the regions will be: Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the US.

Otherwise, Carphone Warehouse is staying tight-lipped about iD. The company is yet to disclose any specific contracts, for instance, aside from a limited-time offer which includes a Samsung A3, 300 minutes, 500 texts and 1GB of data for £19.50 per month.

The UK's telecoms industry is in the midst of a huge shake-up, so Carphone Warehouse will have its work cut out. Three's owner is looking to buy O2, while BT is completing its acquisition of EE. In the meantime, BT has launched some SIM-only plans, and Sky is preparing an O2-powered network. Alongside the usual stack of MVNOs, iD could struggle to stand out. Unlike some of these smaller networks, however, Carphone Warehouse has retail stores, and you can bet it'll be using them to avoid a repeat of Phones4u.