UK retailer Phones 4U set to close its doors

UK's Phones 4U is set to close the doors on its 720 outlets after EE becomes the final carrier partner to terminate its relationship with the retailer prompting administration. The decision to shutter its stores will affect almost 6,000 employees though private equity owner BC Partners assures that "employees will continue to be paid until further notice."

"Today is a very sad day for our customers and our staff. If the mobile network operators decline to supply us, we do not have a business," Phones 4U CEO David Kassler said saying that Phones 4U is now in administration.

Prior to EE pulling out, both Vodafone and O2 had terminated its agreements with Phones 4U earlier this year.

"EE reached the decision amid concerns that Phones 4U was selling for only one of Britain's main mobile operators," The Telegraph reported. "It was felt this reduced its appeal for customers who wanted to compare the prices of different operators."

This will leave Carphone as the sole third-party retailer of wireless phones and service in the UK. Phones 4U and BC Partners claim that EE and other carriers want to reduce the number of phones and contracts that are sold through outside retailers in order to achieve a higher profit margin.

Source: The Telegraph

Chuong Nguyen

Chuong's passion for gadgets began with the humble PDA. Since then, he has covered a range of consumer and enterprise devices, raning from smartphones to tablets, laptops to desktops and everything in between for publications like Pocketnow, Digital Trends, Wareable, Paste Magazine, and TechRadar in the past before joining the awesome team at Windows Central. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, when not working, he likes exploring the diverse and eclectic food scene, taking short jaunts to wine country, soaking in the sun along California's coast, consuming news, and finding new hiking trails. 

  • Very sad indeed
  • Although it means less people deterring people from buying windows phone...although Carphone Warehouse aren't any better!
  • Carphone warehouse have never tried to deter me away from a windows phone, they have been pretty supportive. :)
  • Must just be my bad luck :/ as I've been deterred from 3 phones4u shops, 2 Carphone Warehouses, a Three shop, an Orange shop and an EE STORE! I'm in Edinburgh.
  • I bought the Lumia 530 from carphone warehouse(aberdeen) yesterday, and the man who served me was very helpful in discussing the pros and cons of windows phone vs android on a budget. Better than in Phones4u at PC world, the guy wouldn't let off on trying to sell an EE contract, I don't want to move from vodafone and I don't want a contract, I think he was disappointed when I left.   The Lumia 530 seems to be a brilliant phone so far, the only thing I can't figure out is how to get here maps to load up properly, do I need a mobile data connection to start off with?
  • Yes you need an internet connection to load the maps, you can save the maps i.e. download them for offline use. Go to here maps and there will be option to download maps.
  • And I thought that kind of thing happens only in the U.S. If it happens in other parts of the globe as well, then the fact that WP still manages to grows at all is a miracle! 
  • Vote yes on the 18th, sorry in advance!
  • Already voted no by post! Sorry to disappoint you. My heart said yes but my logical brain said no. :/
  • Carphone Warehouse are fantastic company who know what they are talking about always willing to go that little bit further well the ones I've dealt with
  • Bad news
  • 6000 employees.. Yikes.. And people yell at sweety baby Microsofty..
  • Well this is f****** s***. I got my re 920 from p4u as the planks at EE are just the worst. I don't know the back story behind this but how can Ofcom allow this? Just another way to remove consumer choice and screw us over. Sad day indeed.
  • Has nothing to do with OFCOM.
  • So Sad i wish their employees the best of luck finding new jobs I liked Phones 4 U i bought my 920 from them 2 years ago almost and the after care has been fantastic
  • I did too, in fact it will be 2 years in November. So will Orange contact me about an upgrade? Would it have been Phones4u before?
  • Most likely I for one wont be renewing I'm leaving them shoddy network terrible customer service
  • Sad very sad feel sorry for the 6000 employees and their families :(
  • One of my daughters will be pleased as she works in an EE shop and it's more commision for her, alwasy a silver lining somewhere. Got to admit I have avoided the shop (P4U) as they always looked like a tired business.     Bob
  • This is sad day indeed who will keep carphonewarehouse in check now?
  • Seems the UK carriers are inspired by the greedy US carriers. Gits.
  • Greedy? The network may get higher margins, but I've generally found, after some prodding that the network will beat third party retailers. Plus it benefits me to deal direct, better service from start to finish, nobody can pass the buck if the network did all the dealing.
  • Right, so by getting rid of the third-party retailers they don't need to drop their prices for anyone...
  • Conversely, by having to line the pockets of a middleman it may well keep prices artificially higher. Those connection commissions that P4U and CPW attract have to come from somewhere.
  • Sad news for Phones4U employees. I know quite a few of them from the Lumia Champions program with Microsoft. I work for Dixons Carphone so its good news for us. More profit and money!
    Gonna try to get some from local stores to move into Carphone! I know CPW are trying to give as many jobs to them as possible!
  • Very sad, partners are absolutely on spot. Networks want higher profit margin due to which they parted their ways.
  • This is really bad news,this company has over 5,500 employees,can't understand why Vodafone and EE are dropping them !
  • I can. They mis-sold contracts. Firstly two on Orange then tried to get me on Vodafone but each time I had them by the balls got out of it. Proper scam artists. Last time was about 2 years ago.
    I made sure my mates etc knew why I called them Frauds4U.
    Be sad for the people, not sad for management or people with responsibility.
    Maybe now Manchester can have its eponymous MEN Arena back.
  • Well,I am sad for the employee's at first,its not good for the economy,unemployed don't spend money.
  • This was bound to happen after Dixons and Carphone Warehouse joined forces. A massive part of phones4u is the store in stores at Currys PCWorlds. Now Carphone are with them it was only a matter of time before this happened.
  • My first ever job was 20 years ago selling mobiles (Mercury One2One's) in Dixons on the Strand in London.  Have to say I have nothing but contempt in the way DSG operate and never ever purchase anything from them, shame P4U went as I had lots of great deals from them in the past.  Guess its direct with carriers from now on :/ this is bad for us as consumers. 
  • Damn, I feel bad for the workers ... Greedy carriers
  • greedy carriers betrayed the retailers which stood by them for years and made them what they are now .. the franchise concept is the new way of business yet those carriers are playing against that .. my thoughts are with the employees
  • Boycotting ee when my contract expires in nov
  • And orange, Voda, three, tmobile and o2. Didn't it say EE was last to drop them
  • Jeez! They even emailed me this morning to remind me to order the i6!
  • Very sad, I always liked p4u.... On a different note, I wonder who will be selling the white lumia 930 now as it was a p4u exclusive??
  • Not only that, but they are selling them off contract for cheaper than amazon, in the white too!
  • I'd like to know what's gonna happen to all the unlocked handsets on the shelves. Firesale anyone? L930 for £200?
  • Very sad news, I always liked p4u, much more than Carphone Warehouse, tho I suppose it depends on which store you go to.. I would never buy my phones directly from carries as they over price, add bloat-wear and carrier lock their phones. Seems p4u have been set up especially now the new iPhone announced and p4u would have sold a tonne of them
  • They still have my phone for repair...
  • Assuming it is a Lumia, why on earth did you send it for with repair with P4U?!!
    Nokia Care Centre is what you need.
  • In the UK, Nokia care are pretty sparse, the closest one to me is a good 2 - 3 hour drive. It's easier to hand it over to CPW or P4U and let them deal with it, they sometimes send it to Nokia to deal with.
  • My 920 was repaired by the Nokia repair center in Norfolk. I live in London. Nokia sent a courier to pick it up, fixed within a couple of days and then couriered it back to me. All part of the price. It never occurred to me to drive somewhere to get the phone repaired.
  • Nokia collect phone, repair and return. Simple and have offered me a great service.
  • Nokia UK will pick up your phone by UPS and return it repaired within 2 days.
  • Sad to hear. What's to stop that from happening to CarPhone Warehouse in the near future?
  • It was the only place to buy many phones unlocked. It's a sad day for the people of our decrepit island...
  • 'Decrepit island'?
    Let me guess....Daily Mail reader ;)?
  • I am disgusted by your accusation, the Daily Mail is what makes our country sick. The Daily Whale is a rag, a sexist, xenophobic rag whose blood is made up of vile and voyeuristic gossip. From the 'Hurrah for the Blackshirts' of the 1930s to the equally vile gossip of this day, I think you'll find I most certainly am not a Daily Mail reader.
  • Only people who read the Daily Mail truly believe we live on a 'decrepit island'. The rest of the population (and the world) look on these shores as a better place than you give them credit.
    Hence why I insinuated you read the Mail ;)
  • Hopefully during administration, the rumours of a BT buyout will become true and save the jobs. Shame as P4U is by far a lot better than the understaffed, cramped stores of CPW
  • opposite reaction, I always found Carphone stores were spacious and staff were there only if you needed them, whereas P4U set up in small shops with so many staff that would pounce on me like a pack of wild dogs whenever I entered. BUT I guess it does depend on where you live and general size of stores etc.
  • I found both as bad as each other, though Carphone definitely improved once they got rid of the sales commission based bonus. Phones4U was tacky at times, I remember once a sales person telling a customer to go to the rival and if they were cheaper come back and he'll match it... I laughed out loud why would he be bothered to return just to match it? Lots of the staff were like younger versions of dodgy car sales people though I do feel sorry for them now.
  • Sad for all the workers.....wonder how long Carphone warehouse will last?
  • Every time I went in to a Phones4U I felt I wasn't welcome in the shop unless I allowed a salesman to sell something me, when in fact I always know what I'm looking for. I always liked Carphone Warehouse because the phones on display were turned on meaning you can have a play with them (if unsure about iOS/Android/WP) whereas in P4U they literally put a non-working display model on a shelf and expected you to buy what you saw.
  • Phones 4u was a failing company - complaints piled up, service shoddy and worse. But then who do you blame for that? I'm sorry for the employees, hope they find something and soon. However I'm not sad that company is going under. I'm just waiting for a fire sale. The Frankenstein that is dixcarwareson - that has a near monopoly... Ugh. Another company with varying degrees of service. And talk talk just reeks. They need to go too.
  • This is ourragous something is wrong here, the big 3 have all taken away business from PhonesU which in my opinon had the best staff. That is it no more T-Mobile, EE, or Vodafone they will never get my business again. Putting 5 thousand staff out of work.  
  • Yeah, p4u is/was a very intimidating retail experience, but its still sad to see them go... Carphone warehouse it is then! Although Tesco Phone shop does 3rd party contracts for stuff and normally have so.e really good deals on...
  • This is a sad day for all Phones 4U employees and families everywhere for those who work there. Why does the phone carriers leave them?! Why cant they just stay! I am completely mortified by this! Thank you Phones 4U for your years of AWESOME service over the years and its really sad to see you go! We will miss you. Including me.
  • Not from the UK or know anything about this company but I'm glad such a stupidly named business has folded.
  • I'm not sure anyone really needed your opinion. It was a pretty poor one!
    But yes, here's to 6000 workers losing their jobs because their company name is a bad 'un!
  • I didn't say they went out of business because of their name. It wouldn't matter if they were the size of IBM and 400k lost their jobs, it's still a stupid name. I was also glad when Conn's closed its doors in our town. Why? Because I don't want to shop at a place that sounds like they are going to con me. Same thing with this company named by some 14 year old using AOL IM in 1999.
  • It is because you are thinking in an American perspective, I used to think the same when I moved to the UK. But then I realized (working for a hosting/domains company) that apparently during the UK's .com bubble boom in the early 2000's, the trend was to name "something 4 u". You won't imagine the amount of other businesses, sometimes respected, that use that "4 u" thing at the end of their name.   
  • Competition in the high street has just become more testing. I point blank refuse to use Carphone Warehouse, even moreso after their getting into bed with DSG. Perhaps it's about time for the M&M commission to revisit their existence?
  • When Carphone Warehouse is the only major player, it means the consumer may lose out. Something tells me the Carphone Warehouse Christmas do will be amazing. I have to say though, each had approximately 4 stores within 500yds on my high street. And not one of them could compete with their online/call centre prices. Both CW and P4U have lifted my leg.
  • Such a shame and completely unnecessary for the networks to pull the plug on them in my opinion. I'm no advocate for P4U's business practice's after they pulled the plug on 2020 Mobile (once part of the same company and their primary distribution centre), which ultimately cost me my job... Got some great deals from them over the years though, which the networks themselves could never compete with directly. Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android
  • Phones not for you
  • -720, as it looks like
  • I never quite gathered how companies like Phones4U made their money? Surely it's just an extra middle man barrier between the product and the consumer? Personally I rarely ventured into their stores, their sales team hunt in packs and the phone models on display fakes anyway
  • These guys were notoriously bad for bad mouthing Windows phone, suki good riddance. Hopefully their staff land on their feet.
  • CPW - Complete Phucking Wankers.
    If only someone would do the same to them.
  • So bad competition is always good, I had a Lumia 620 and when I was upgrading they showed me the Lumia 1520 and I upgraded to that. Also back a couple of years they were one of the only places in the UK selling the Ativ s, they did support WP a little.
  • Greed. pure and simple.  I had amazing deal from P4U for both 920 and 1020.  Sad to see them go through no fault of thier own.
  • As an ex employee of P4U I'm not surprised that all the operators have pulled out, I'm just very surprised that it's taken this long. I was there for 5 years and the way in which they conducted business was pretty bad. Saying that I feel terrible for the staff, I have a few friends who still work there, and hope that they all can find alternative employment ASAP.
  • I bought my lumia 520 from p4u in Aberystwyth last year... I broke the phone later and took it back, the guy changed the phone for me and I thought it was because the phone was 3weeks old then in Dundee this summer I damage the board with high voltage ⚡ took it to p4u in Dundee, show them the phone was in a reboot loop and they took the phone fix it for me for free by changing the main board! I did not buy that extra stuff they ask you to buy just incase your phone went bad... They never sway me from buying wp8, I never asked them to make decision for me.
  • Hopefully something new will spring up in its place. I bought my 1020 through p4u and had problems with mura on the screen. Took it in store twice and several calls to customer service. Staff were rude, badly trained (in simple customer care) and the whole experience of getting a replacement was a shambles. Sorry for the employees, but other than that good riddance!
  • Death to EE!
  • They were the only company supporting P4U at the end...
    So does that also mean death to O2 and Vodafone?
  • P4U was a awful company with staff who were trained to try and convince people into the most expensive contracts even if they didn't need or want them good riddance
  • -720 :'(
  • P4U is an awful company. I bought the Lumia 920 in red right after was released (in 2012) only to know was locked to EE. They made me move to EE with a F'ing £40 tariff. Months later I realised my mistake. Their sales staff were never decent, shark way of thinking. And their Cust services was non-existent. My Lumia 920 developed the dust behind the screen (early units) but they never agreed to fix it, saying was "user mistreatment".  CPW were more decent (I guess since they were not in that agressive sales comission scheme) and always provided a good service in case the device failed.  I don't fnd it a surprise about P4U demise, always read in the forums how people were mis-sold contracts they never wanted. 
  • Microsoft should buy them and convert to microsoft stores.
  • Agree 100% has a network of stores, some may close. but others can be used as a showcase new products Xbox4U would be ideal. Phone Xbox deals would be killer.
  • I like that idea wyrdfish and sell unlocked phones
  • Poor scary Mary is out of a job :/
  • Surely the key question is, for those in the UK, how can you now get hold of a white Lumia 930?
  • As much as P4U have a very bad reputation for being notoriously sales driven & Zero After Care Customer service, we all need to have deep sympathy for the 6000 employees of not knowing their future with the company.
    Jumping Ship might be easier said than done, especially when you've invested your time.
    I hope they get a handout from a major investor despite my personal opinion about the brand itself.
  • I am glad I didn't pay for my iphone 6 plus there, they were claiming they would definitely have stock on the 19th of the 128GB gold 6 plus.
  • Sounds like you were saved from being mugged ;).
    The iPhone 6 is a hell of a lot of money....and I honestly can't see what it brings to the table (aside from 60fps video)...
    Genuine question - why are you buying the 6Plus? The apps, or some other reason?
  • My last contract was from Phones 4 U and I thought their service was excellent. The didn't try to push me to buy a phone I didn't want unlike some of the other high street stores. I think that a good company has been shafted by the carriers. I feel sorry for their staff who are losing their jobs for no reason. Posted via the Windows Phone Central App for Android