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Vodafone becomes latest mobile network to abandon Phones4U

Vodafone WorldTraveller

Once Vodafone's Phones4U contract expires in February, the high street retailer will be left with EE and Virgin

Vodafone has confirmed that it will not be renewing its contract with high street retailer Phones4U, meaning that when the deal expires in February it will be left with only two of the major UK networks on its books – putting it at a major disadvantage against rival Carphone Warehouse.

In a double blow to Phones4U, Vodafone also announced it was strengthening ties to the Carphone Warehouse, which recently merged with electronics retailer Dixons.

“Earlier this year Vodafone UK said it was reviewing its distribution strategies in the UK and that it would be opening a further 150 stores and creating 1,400 new jobs,” a Vodafone spokesperson said in a statement. “As part of that review, Vodafone today confirms that it will be enhancing its distribution partnership with Dixons Carphone from early next year and will not be extending its existing contract with Phones4U, which expires in February 2015.”

Vodafone is the latest mobile network to abandon Phones4U, after O2 and Three pulled out to go their own way on the high street, leaving it with EE and Virgin. However, it may not have those for long, as rumours have suggested EE was looking to go it alone in the near future as well.

Phones4U CEO David Kassler said he was “disappointed” at the news, but confirmed the company was in active talks with existing partners, other networks and MVNOs to bring in more choice for customers. He also suggested the company has sold 430,000 Vodafone contracts and 125,000 prepay SIM cards in the twelve months prior to February 2014, meaning Vodafone would effectively be walking away from roughly £210 million in sales.

Phones4U has its own MVNO network, Life Mobile, which runs on the EE network, and will continue to sell SIM cards and contracts for its remaining partners while it searches for more.

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