New mobile group rings the changes

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A MOBILE virtual network dedicated to the business user will launch tomorrow, headed by one of Scotland's telecoms pioneers.

Abica, based in Glasgow, will be chaired by Rod Matthews, who founded ScottishTelecom, now known as Thus. He said: "In the same way that Virgin Mobile supports the youth market, we aim to be the de facto choice for business when it comes to mobiles, landlines and broadband."

The industry veteran joins the board of Abica, which was set up by three young entrepreneurs with extensive track records in fixed-line and mobile phone services. The firm is the latest brand to come out of the privately owned telecoms business ABC. It will attempt to grab custom from the larger mobile networks.

Scott Allison, managing director, who founded his first company while an undergraduate at Strathclyde University, claims the big mobile firms focus on their retail customers at one end and their corporate customers at the other. He believes those in the middle are squeezed out.

Operating as a mobile virtual network operator, Abica offers coverage from established networks, but sets its own tariffs, contracts and service levels.

Allison says that company research shows its charging policy will immediately save new customers around 8% on annual bills.