O2 is to pull out of new contract business at Phones 4u from 1 April.
Mobile has learned that O2 will only allow upgrade business and prepay sales at the multiple retailer, in a move that completes the strategic alignment of Vodafone and O2 with two separate retailers.
O2's retreat from Phones 4u follows Vodafone's shock pull-out from The Carphone Warehouse last year. The deal is the latest example of operators and retailers taking sides, forging alignments and operators striking sharper deals.
I'm not sure which way to look @ this:
1) It degrades retailer impartiality in alot of stores nationwide, CPW favouring O2, P4U favouring Vodafone giving network operators alot more retail power and alot of biased custom and network signups dependent upon walking traffic of punters...
2) CPW and P4U will offer increasingly better deals for their respective new masters, I mean networks of O2 and Vodafone... but the article mentions larger sales = smaller comissions, which equals not as good cashback deals or possibly not as good handsets, but maybe it includes cheaper handsets....
It'll be interesting to see how this little feud continues, as I run alot of mobile contracts for my family.
It could easily get worse, if BT rolls out it''s "6th mobile network" this year on WiMAX, if Three eventually gets sold, Hutchinson have been maneuvering themselves to get buyers interested and to get the highest price for a while now.
The market will get too crowded, someone is going to get gobbled up and with Orange and Vodafone sharing 3g masts (possibly illegally) with T-Mobile and O2 looking to do similar (they do so in Germany), the PCN networks of T-Mobile and Orange might get eaten with Three serving as seconds...