Vodafone to call time on Phones 4u sales from February 2015

Phones 4U logo

Phones 4u is facing an uncertain future now Vodafone has announced plans to withdraw its products from sale through its stores from February 2015.

The mobile operator has decided not to renew its contract with Phones 4u following a review of its UK distribution strategy, meaning the store will no longer be able to offer new Vodafone devices or tariffs.

O2 and Three have also withdrawn their products from sale via Phones 4u's outlets, meaning the firm now only stocks offerings from EE, Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile and its own-brand LIFE Mobile.

In a statement, Phones 4u said it is in discussions with its existing partners, other networks and various third-party MVNOs in preparation for Vodafone's withdrawal.

David Kassler, CEO of Phones 4u, said he was disappointed by Vodafone's decision, but the firm remains upbeat about its future without it.

"We have high levels of market share, especially in the youth segment, and our own network LIFE Mobile [launched in 2013] is now fully road-tested and enjoying a great first year with customer growth ahead of our expectations," he said.

"We are continuing to set new benchmarks as the leading independent retailer of 4G, with over 70 per cent of connections on this superfast standard.

"Both transactions and search traffic through our new mobile commerce site are growing rapidly as customers increasingly look to begin their purchase journey online, and they are continuing to choose to shop with Phones 4u because of the great service and value they get across all channels," he added.

According to Phones 4u's financial reports, Vodafone accounted for more than a quarter (27 per cent) of the firm's contract sales and 16 per cent of its pay-as-you-go sales during the 12 months to 31 July.

In a further statement, Vodafone said: "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.

"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," the statement added.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.