Liquidator to wind down Dixons’ Irish mobile unit

By Geoff Percival

Electrical goods group Dixons-Carphone is to close its Irish mobile communications arm after failing to find a buyer for the underperforming business.

Tom Murray, of corporate recovery and insolvency practitioner Friel Stafford, has been appointed provisional liquidator to iD Mobile, taking over its day-to-day operations and implementing its winding down. Mr Murray was appointed by the High Court, with it satisfied iD Mobile was insolvent and unable to pay its debts.

Dixons-Carphone, best known for its Carphone Warehouse, Currys, PC World and Dixons Travel retail chains, established the Irish arm of iD Mobile in 2015, on the back of a €30m investment.

Acting as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) — operating on the 3 Ireland network — it targeted a 6% share of the Irish mobile market, or around 250,000 customers, within five years.

However, while the service has 600,000-700,000 customers in the UK, its Irish arm has only signed up around 40,000 subscribers. The High Court heard that its deficit had reached €25.2m since inception.

Dixons-Carphone decided to pull the brand in Ireland and seek a buyer last June, but said that no suitable buyer with the necessary resources to make the MVNO a success could be found.

“Dixons-Carphone invested substantial resources to establish iD Mobile in Ireland and has continued to support the business financially. Despite a compelling consumer mobile proposition in an increasingly competitive mobile market, iD Mobile was unable to achieve scale against established operators and its losses became unsustainable,” Dixons-Carphone said.

“Reluctantly, a decision was taken to close iD Mobile in Ireland,” the company said.

The group said its key focus is now ensuring iD Mobile’s 40,000 Irish customers can switch to a new network “with minimum disruption and inconvenience”.

It said the liquidator will be provided with “significant financial and other support” to allow full service to be maintained while customers transition to an alternative network.

Existing customers will be offered full service for the next 30 days.

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