London based telecommunications services business Spiritel has announced an exclusive agreement with Virgin Mobile to launch a new directory enquiries (“DQ”) service. The service is to be marketed to Virgin Mobile’s four million subscribers and other DQ users, and from every call made 20 pence will go to charity. The service will compete with the UK’s other major directory enquiry numbers and offer the same service, but crucially customers will be making a substantial donation to Virgin Mobile’s selected children’s charities from each call. At 20p from every call, the charitable donation is the largest from any 118 service in the UK.
Using Spiritel’s UK-based managed DQ service, Virgin Mobile has launched the new service as part of its Social Investment Programme. Virgin Mobile will charge users the same amount or less for calls to most other 118 numbers and will not take any additional revenue share itself from the calls but will donate 20 pence per call to its selected charities: Kid’s Company and Foyer. The new service is launched today and can be called from any mobile or fixed line provider where the network operator allows access.
The potential financial benefits to Virgin Mobile’s nominated charities from the new service are striking. The UK directory enquiry market is currently estimated to be worth almost £200 million per year, the equivalent of 360 million calls. Virgin Mobile currently has four million customers to market this service directly to – but fixed line and non Virgin Mobile customers are also able to use the service and thereby donate to charity at the same time.
Commenting on the launch Alastair Mills, CEO of Spiritel said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by Virgin Mobile to host their directory enquiry service and contribute towards their Social Investment Programme. The new service will provide the opportunity for consumers to make a significant contribution to good causes without spending any more money. 118 918 is cheaper than the service provided by The Number and we hope that Virgin Mobile’s new service gains significant market share. The partnership also builds on Spiritel’s experience in the provision of managed DQ services and demonstrates our ability to provide innovative communications solutions for major UK service providers.
“It is an exciting partnership and we are looking forward to working closely with Virgin Mobile to ensure this project is an immense success for everyone involved.”
Tim Dowling, Director of Consumer Proposition, Virgin Mobile added: “Kids Company and Foyer are two incredible charities, offering invaluable support to young people. Virgin Mobile is excited to be launching this new service provided by Spiritel and we look forward to making a difference for young people this Christmas and beyond.”