back to article Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer

Vodafone has swooped on 140 Phones 4u stores just days after the retailer blamed the operator for contributing to its untimely demise when it slipped into administration late last Sunday. Administrator PwC said in a statement late on Friday that Voda had struck a deal with Phones 4u to re-brand the stores over the next few …

  1. Steve Medway
    Joke

    Don't bite the hand that feeds you....

    Phones4U starting LifeMobile was about as a good a business plan as Gerald Ratner admitting his firm sold "total crap".

    Now the crows swoop in to pick through the carcus.

  2. banjomike
    WTF?

    NOW it makes sense...

    Vodaphone (and EE) destroy Phones 4u by cancelling contracts then pick up a load of shops on the cheap. Now let us see if EE buy some...

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: NOW it makes sense...

      Is there a Phones 4U store anywhere that isn't a few doors away from an EE store? They are currently in the process of deduplicating their Orange/T-Mobile store network.

    2. Ktsecful

      Re: NOW it makes sense...

      Oh look, there we go, they did.

  3. AMBxx Silver badge

    the more I read

    Something stinks about this whole process. Follow the money, who gains - the networks and earphone.

    I've never been a customer of phones4u, but this doesn't look right

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: the more I read

      Business is business. Were they obligated to continue with the contract they had with Phones4u? If anything, it was stupid of Phones4u to think all was fine without a commitment in writing extending the contract. No contact = no obligation. Also, why would you have the two contracts that is your business expiring in the same year. They just begs for something like this to happen. The writing was on the wall when other carriers already left; one in 2012 and another this year.

      There is no money to follow as nothing done was illegal. The contract was up and the carriers decided not to renew it.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: the more I read

        Look wider than that. The private equity group loaded the company up with debt last year to pay themselves a massive dividend.

        The bondholders need to find out if anything was known at the time that wasn't included in the bond's prospectus.

    2. patrick_bateman

      Re: the more I read

      Yer, seems like this was the plan all along....

      a bet a handfull of people gain from this with a fat wad in their back pocket whilst others loose jobs..

      oh, i forgot, thats how the world runs...

      FU World.

  4. tin 2

    nah, phones4u has been on the block for years, it was only a matter of time. Caudwell and the 2 private equity gaffs have made their money and flushed the staff down the shitter. It was always going to be this way.

    The bit that makes me laugh is the complaining that the networks have been ruthless bastards. Caudwell and phones4u etc are the biggest bunch of ruthless bastards out there. They have just been out-ruthless-barstard-ed for once.

    Its a crying shame for the non ruthless bastard staff still there when it sunk, but that's all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just expressing my admiration for how you have torpedoed the English language there, I don't think anyone will beat out-ruthless-barstard-ed for the rest of this year..

      1. Phil W

        If it's not a word it certainly should be. It has far more right to be in the OED than some of the other Internet slang that has been added of late.

        I think the BOFH would approve of the term out-bastarded.

  5. Nick Kew

    What was the point of phones4u?

    Our high streets have been saturated with mobile phone shops for a long time. You'd've thought there should've been a shakeout at least a decade ago.

    As for phones4u .... was it not a case of neither fish nor fowl? If it's neither a network's own outlet nor an independent vendor for all the networks, then what niche does it occupy? I'd've thought that as soon as it lost one major network, it would lose its value to the others.

  6. iRadiate

    Went to a 2 Vodafone stores in coventry yesterday. Was saturated. Staff couldn't cope. They were taking names like in a restaurant. Waiting time was around 20 minutes to see a sales rep.

    1. James 100

      I've always been surprised by the popularity of those shops, when surely an online operation can heavily undercut them (and indeed the online-only deals are often much better than in-store). OK, it's handy to go in for replacement SIMs, browsing handsets etc, but why do so many people still buy there?!

      Some consolidation was inevitable, I think, so Phones4U disappearing isn't a surprise (why would Vodafone or EE sell through them when they could sell direct instead?) I wonder if Carphone Warehouse are looking nervously over their shoulders now, worrying about what their next network renewal talks are going to involve?

      Of course, I recall the anomalous situation some years ago of having an O2 (just before they dropped the Cellnet name IIRC) mobile ... billed through Vodafone, because they'd bought the O2 reseller I was a customer of. That was a strange novelty at the time. Now they've merged their network operations under Cornerstone, might they start pooling more infrastructure?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "browsing handsets etc, but why do so many people still buy there?!"

        I think you just answered your own question there. Unless there is a significant cost saving in buying online, most people would just buy at the store they are currently in once they've made the decision which handset to buy. Being able to touch/feel the object is an important part of buying a handset unless you've already decided and have friends who own one.

        It's also easier to return to a physical shop for help/advice/repair/replacement.

        The swinger for most people is probably the instant gratification in the purchase or the face to face if there's a problem with the item.

      2. jonathanb Silver badge

        When I bought my Galaxy Note 2 a couple of years ago, Carphone Warehouse was actually cheaper than reputable online sellers. That's why I bought it there.

  7. khisanth

    Phones4U were very profitable so I am sure they will return in some capacity. Personally their stupid adverts put me off ever considering them!

    These days all the networks have their own brick and mortar stores, so there is little need for a service provider like phones4u anymore. Last one I used was Carphone warehouse about 10 years ago and even then I just used their website.

    I am glad that the typical high street is not flooded with mobile phone shops any more.

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