Vodafone and Three turn to sub-brands for UK mobile growth

September 07, 2017  | Subscribers Only

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Recently, the UK mobile market has witnessed several key developments in relation to the deployment of multi-brand strategies. In August 2017, Vodafone launched a new youth-orientated sub-brand and Three announced a new ‘no-frills’ UK sub-brand. Furthermore, in July 2017, BT revealed that it would merge the BT and EE consumer functions as part of its ongoing integration efforts.

This report rounds up the multi-brand strategies of each UK MNO, analysing the implications of these new developments on their respective consumer strategies. The report will also discuss the rationale of multi-brand strategies, and their advantages and disadvantages.


  • It has become the industry norm for telcos to operate a multi-brand strategy. 
  • Sub-brands can be created in-house, but can also be added as a result of acquisitions.
  • Operators leverage sub-brands to appeal to a particular market segment. This strategy is particularly prominent in saturated markets, where operators must turn to previously underserved segments to increase revenues.
  •  A second reason for adopting a sub-brand is to protect the main brand from increased price competition. However, this can still result in some degree of ARPU erosion.
  • To reduce the likelihood of ARPU erosion, a sub-brand must be a distinct proposition.
  • Sub-brands have a more limited impact in fragmented markets where there are already several successful MVNOs.

In this report:

  • Vodafone introduces youth-orientated sub-brand.
  • TalkMobile struggled to gain traction in the ‘no-frills’ segment.
  • VOXI is part of Vodafone’s wider consumer segmentation strategy.
  • Three’s launches SMARTY sub-brand to compete with MVNOs.
  • Three has deployed sub-brands in Denmark and Sweden.
  • BT remains committed to a multi-brand strategy, despite the need to achieve cost synergies.
  • Telefónica has successfully deployed a multi-brand approach in the UK for several years. 

List of Tables and charts: 

  • Vodafone UK: Subscribers (000s)
  • Three UK: Subscribers (000s)
  • Three Denmark: Subscribers (000s)
  • UK: Mobile Market Share (%), Q2 2017

 Number of Pages: 7

Number of Tables and Charts: 4

Research by Market
Mobile & Telecom
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