Oyster pours €35m into virtual mobile network

TELECOMS tycoon Emmet Memery’s Oyster Group is investing €35m in launching a virtual mobile network and mobile lifestyle brand.

40,000 of the group’s high-spending customers in small and medium-size businesses will have access to concert tickets, exclusive venues, airport and city centre lounges and an exclusive concierge service.

The brand will be launched later this year, giving Oyster customers their own tariff and roaming agreements and eventually its own branded sim cards, Memery revealed. “The networks will need to spend a lot to compete with us on the same level, so we’ll be first to market with this,” he added.

Tickets and share-dealing and travel services will be charged for through a single billing system, turning handsets into interactive ‘Oyster’ charge cards. “We’re currently talking to a big player in the banking sector to handle the payments side,” marketing director Garry Truieck revealed.

“We’re uniquely placed to deliver a lifestyle for our customers through their mobile phones,” said marketing director Garry Truieck. Oyster’s other companies, which include Lemongrass restaurants, property development, eco-friendly timber-frame houses and wine distribution, will also be rebranded.

Memery announced plans to an 150-strong invitation-only audience at the Royal College of Physicians earlier this week, which included key clients, financiers and representatives from O2 and Vodafone.

Oyster looks set to beat business telecoms provider Pure Telecom by becoming the first virtual mobile network to tie in with mobile giant Vodafone, which is the country’s largest mobile network.

The group has 94 employees and sells 200,000 mobiles a year through direct sales, agents and 23 shops. Total sales for the group are forecast to top €100m this year, while the group’s booming phone business alone turned over €48m last year.

Memery is always on the acquisition trail, aiming to buy three or four telecom retailers every year. He recently bought Dublin-based telephone systems, data and landlines provider Pulse Communications.

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