UK multiplay operator TalkTalk is speaking to rivals Vodafone UK, O2 UK and Virgin Media about offloading its mobile operation, which has just under 1 million customers, to focus on fixed-line broadband, according to Financial Times.

TalkTalk launched its mobile phone service in 2010, but may now be looking to concentrate on being a budget internet provider, which is how the company started.

In May it was reported TalkTalk scrapped plans announced in 2014 to build its own UK mobile network using home hotspots, in favour of maintaining its current MVNO agreement with Telefonica’s O2. The company took a £49 million hit to quit development of the project.

In a statement, TalkTalk had said its mobile strategy was being reviewed to create an “alternative, less capital intensive, offering.”

At the time it was reported the plan faced several delays before becoming one of the first casualties of executive chairman Charles Dunstone, who was expected to shake-up the company after taking a more hands-on role following the departure of long-term CEO Dido Harding in May.

Alternative approach
The deal TalkTalk is now looking to work out with operators is to offer a discount if consumers buy their SIM cards with its broadband packages.

It will try to encourage some of its 913,000 users to switch to the new provider, though this may not be simple as 12 per cent of its customer base is on quadplay deals which include a mix of broadband, fixed-line telephone, pay-TV and mobile in one package.

A TalkTalk company representative said: “We remain committed to offering our customers a compelling value for money mobile proposition, and following our announcement at our full year results in May we are in advanced discussions with a number of potential partners, including O2, to agree a low touch, retail arrangement that will enable us to continue to offer a competitive service to all our broadband customers.”

The market for smaller mobile brands is becoming competitive in the UK, as operators target the same lower spending users.

For instance, 3 UK launched the Smarty brand and Vodafone is targeting younger customers with Voxi.