New The Peoples Operator (tpo) Sprint Mvno


No — we don’t yet have the prospectus for The People’s Operator, a mobile firm that has announced plans to list on Aim with a reported market value of more than £100m. But we do have its most recent accounts, which make it possible to back engineer what the prospectus might say.

The People’s Operator, or TPO for short, is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that piggybacks on EE’s infrastructure in the UK, and has a deal to do the same with Sprint in the US. It has existed for slightly less than two years and boasts 10,000 subscribers, up from 5,800 at the end of June, each of whom averages £11 a month on prepay.


Here’s what that TPO’s market share looks like against peers (at least according to this source, which may well be rubbish):

MVNO chart

The UK mobile phone market is already rather crowded. There are more Sims than people, with active subscribers exceeding the population by a factor of about 1.3. Any new operator needs a gimmick, and TPO’s gimmick is non profit: management has pledged to give a quarter of its earnings to charity, as well as acting as an intermediary to donate 10 per cent of its customers’ bills.


In the year ending December 2013, TPO reported a loss of £1.54m on £62,227 of revenue — suggesting that £100m valuation would be more than 1,600 times trailing sales. The year before it printed revenue of £456, resulting in a £566,231 loss. The charity contributions are, therefore, still hypothetical.


Andrew Rosenfeld (Chairman)

An ex property tycoon, Mr Rosenfeld co-founded TPO on his return to London in 2011. He had spent the previous five years avoiding tax in Switzerland, having raised about £45m by selling his stake in white elephant developer Minerva. He is a prominent Labour Party donor, which resulted in some blowback during the 2006 cash-for-honours scandal. As well as owning about two thirds of TPO’s equity, Mr Rosenfeld as of December 2013 had loaned the group £2.1m at 3 percentage points over base rate, which last year stacked up £54,067 in interest.

Mark Epstein (CEO)

Mr Epstein co-founded Mass1, an advertising agency with close links to the Labour Party, in partnership with former TPO director Tom Gutteridge. While TPO is registered to a brass plate in Mayfair, it has been operating out of Mass1′s address just off the Old Street roundabout in Shoreditch. Companies House records show TPO has paid Mass1 £460,000 over the past two years in exchange for rent, website development, consultancy, “customer service cost” and suchlike.

Jimmy Wales (Executive Director of Strategy and Digital Community)

Wikipedia co-founder Mr Wales joined TPO in January and holds about 10 per cent of the equity, an apparently “strategic” stake that guarantees all pre-float press coverage mentions Mr Wales. At pixel time, Wikipedia makes no mention of TPO among the 45 active MVNOs it lists in the UK market.

Risk factors

See above.

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Source : https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2014/10/14/2005992/welcoming-the-peoples-operator-a-100m-mvno/

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