Charitable mobile network heads to market with Portland

Portland Communications is handling comms around the planned flotation of a virtual mobile network operator that includes Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales on its executive team.

The People's Operator: Already has more than 10,000 subscribers
The People's Operator: Already has more than 10,000 subscribers

The People’s Operator (TPO) allows its pay-monthly and pay-as-you-go customers to direct ten per cent of their bill to a cause of their choice at no extra cost to themselves. It also directs 25 per cent of its trading profits to its own charity, the TPO Foundation.

It announced its intention last week to float on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in November, and is understood to be going ahead despite other IPOs being cancelled or delayed.

Portland, the corporate and public affairs agency founded by former Tony Blair media adviser Tim Allan, has already been working for TPO for a number of months and supported its press launch featuring Wales.

TPO, which is helmed by CEO Mark Epstein and chairman Andrew Rosenfeld, was founded in 2012 in London and has built up more than 10,000 subscribers while still largely in a testing phase.

It plans to use the funds raised by the IPO for global expansion and is targeting a 2015 US launch with an agreement to piggyback on the Sprint network (it uses EE’s network in the UK).

Wales, who is TPO’s executive director of strategy and digital community, said: "We intend to be the first international mobile operator that has successfully built a global customer base via online communities and viral networking."

Allan told PRWeek: "We are very pleased to be supporting The People’s Operator during its IPO. The company has a compelling business model allowing subscribers to donate to causes while benefiting from competitive pricing. It is a fascinating business."

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