WEDNESDAY 17 SEP 2014 2:07 PM


Phones 4U's sudden fall from grace this week was a shocking reminder of the rapidly changing mobile market.

Phones 4U representatives blamed mobile network operators for the company’s failure following the recent withdrawal of the company's last remaining supplier, EE.

Stefano Quadrio Curzio, from BC Partners, said, "Vodafone has acted in exactly the opposite way to what they had consistently indicated to the management of Phones 4U over more than six months. Their behaviour appears to have been designed to inflict the maximum damage to their partner of 15 years, giving Phones 4U no time to develop commercial alternatives. The company is in a healthy state and both EE and Vodafone had, until very recently, consistently indicated that they saw Phones 4u as a long-term strategic partner."

Phones 4U suggests that its demise was a strategic move on the part of mobile operators to eliminate competition, thus enabling them to sell mobile contracts directly to customers, rather than going through retailers that allow for comparison. Indeed, Dixons Carphone is now the only remaining major retailer to offer this service. Not particularly promising considering the company’s fledgling, and thus uncertain, status.

Dixons Carphone said in a statement, "We would like to offer our support to the colleagues and customers of Phones 4U. With regards to our Phones 4U shop-in-shop colleagues; we hope to help them secure new jobs with us and will be opening up discussions with the administrators to agree what we can do."

Dixons Carphone has since agreed to hire 800 people who work in Phones 4U concessions at its Currys and PC World stores.

More than 700 Phones 4U outlets across the UK have closed down since the BC Partners owned retailer was forced into administration. The decision will put 5,596 jobs at risk.

Since the Phones 4U fell into administration, Vodafone and EE have expressed an interest in acquiring parts of the business.


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