If you remember, back October 2006, Vodafone decided to go-it-alone with the UK’s second largest mobile phone retailer, Phones4U.
The removed the UK’s largest chain, Carphone Warehouse, from the roster and gave Phones4U exclusivity.
So if you walk into a Carphone Warehouse, even today, you can’t get a Vodafone service. They won’t offer you a Vodafone contract.
Rumours abound as to why Vodafone made this decision in the first place — and what that meant for Carphone Warehouse.
Well, this is all changing. Again.
From the 7th of July, you can now walk into Carphone Warehouse and be furnished with a new Vodafone connection.
You can’t talk to them about your existing service offering. Mind you, you can’t even do that in a sodding Vodafone shop. You need to phone Customer Services.
That said, it’s a good move for the consumer looking ‘for a deal’.
You simply walk into Carphone Warehouse or Phones4U and — this is where the mobile operator gets an absolute kicking — you tell them you want a ‘better deal’. Let’s say you’re on Orange, right. Well, you won’t be. Not for much longer. The retailer typically gets a heck of a lot more revenue for obtaining a new customer than it does for ‘retaining’ and upgrading an existing customer. The deals for new customers are usually a lot more appealing.
So you’ll be whisked off Orange before you can say ‘can I get free minutes with that’ and the sales executive will begin pointing you to the operator that offers the highest revenue payout/bonus/vouchers for them.
So, from July 7th, you could now be walking out with a new Vodafone connection from Carphone Warehouse.
Good news for the consumer.
Good news for Carphone.
Bad news for Phones4U (slightly less reason to get your hands covered in snakeoil).
Good news for Vodafone. They can hopefully benefit from the churn that these retailers are generating. Carphone Warehouse, by the way, sold 19 million handsets last year. A majority of which were obviously churned from other networks.
Bad news for the operators in general.
We shall see…