No O2 4U

In a move similar to the Voda/Carphone episode last year, O2 are pulling business from Phones 4U and signing a new deal with Carphone Warehouse.

From April 1st Phones 4U will no longer sell new O2 connections, but will retain upgrades and prepay sales.

O2 connections have fallen from around 15000 to 5000 a month, very likely due to 4U concentrating on Vodafone subscriptions. In a reverse of Voda’s exclusivity deal four months ago, O2 have signed a new deal with Carphone Warehouse who will apparently push larger volumes now that they are not selling Vodafone handsets.

An O2 spokesman said: ‘We don’t discuss the commercial terms of our relationships with our indirect partners. We have already said that we expect to do less overall gross connections with independent retailers as we increase our focus on our direct channels. Generally, we continue to work with indirect partners who share our ethos of delivering the best possible customer experience and who can add value.’

This could lead to other networks taking the plunge with high street retailers and signing exclusivity deals, but ultimately the consumer loses out. Where Phones 4U and more particularly Carphone were known for their impartiality and able to offer contracts on any network, a consumer will have to shop around for the best deal instead of being able to visit a one-stop-shop.

Back in October Carphone boss Andrew Harrison said about the Voda/4U deal "It goes against everything we stand for. We have together built CPW on the fundamental principle of IMPARTIAL advice. This cannot and will not EVER be compromised: it is the foundation on which our customers trust us. It is a sad day for Phones 4 U customers, to know that they are not being offered the best deal for them but instead the best deal for Phones 4 U and Vodafone."

We’ll have to wait and see if Carphone’s policy changes and O2 connection figures go significantly up.

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