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Vodafone and EE to buy nearly 200 Phones 4U stores

The last two companies to leave Phones 4U have agreed to take on some of its high street stores

Vodafone and EE have reached agreements with administrators PWC to take on a number of Phones 4U stores, following the company’s collapse last week as it failed to reach an agreement with two of the UK’s largest mobile networks over selling their services.

EE confirmed this morning that it would be acquiring 58 Phones 4U stores, which would secure 359 jobs. This follows Vodafone’s confirmation on Friday that it would be acquiring 140 Phones 4U stores, which would safeguard 900 jobs following high court approval of the purchase, and Dixons Carphone’s announcement it would be taking 800 former Phones 4U staff that had been working in PC World and Currys outlets.

As one of the few independent mobile phone retailers left on the high street, Phones 4U was entirely dependent on securing contracts with the major UK networks in order to survive. Following Vodafone and EE’s departure, company founder John Caudwell told the BBC that “predatory” mobile phone networks had engineered Phones 4U’s demise in an “unprecedented assassination.

EE denied the decision to end the working relationship with Phones 4U was designed to eliminate the compeition, but was based on a renewed focus on its own shops. Having announced at the beginning of September it wouldn’t be renewing its Phones 4U contract, Vodafone rejected suggestions from Private equity firm BC Partners, which owned Phones 4U prior to the collapse, that the company’s behaviour “appears to have been designed to inflict the maximum damage”. Vodafone’s high street presence will now grow from 382 stores to 522, with Phones 4U stores rebranded to Vodafone “as soon as possible”.

Despite today’s relatively good news, there are still thousands of jobs at Phones 4U still at risk. The company had more than 700 shops across the UK with almost 5,600 staff. Over 600 employees at the Phones 4U head office, based in Newcastle-under-Lyme, have already been told they would be losing their jobs.

What does Phones 4U entering administration mean for you? Make sure to read our guide to find out what happens to your contract or handset pre-order.

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