EE denies it's pulling handsets from Carphone Warehouse

Network refutes claims it is on the verge of ditching partnership

Jane McCallion
9 Jun 2014

EE has denied claims it's planning to stop selling phones via Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4U.

The Telegraph reported over the weekend that EE is on the verge of pulling its products from Carphone Warehouse and possibly Phones 4U stores within the next few weeks.

However, an EE spokesperson told PC Pro that the claims made in the article were an inaccurate extrapolation from an announcement made earlier in the year.

“We announced a review of our distribution strategy a few months ago and this process is ongoing,” the spokesperson said. “Discussions [are] continuing with all relevant parties, including Carphone Warehouse, who [is] a long-standing and important partner."

The spokesperson stressed no decision had yet been made.

Steven Hartley, head of Service Provider and Markets research at Ovum also told PC Pro he would be “very surprised” if EE cut off Carphone Warehouse completely.

“Dedicated shops do have advantages. They can offer the ‘Apple Store experience’, where consumers get the ‘customer experience’ before they even become a customer,” he said.

Hartley added that, thanks to low commercial rents, they offer a good value option that doesn't involve a reseller taking a cut of the profits. "However, Carphone Warehouse is a large distribution channel for EE and others,” he said.

If EE pulled out of the arrangement, its high street presence would fall from over 1,200 stores to about 500.

Hartley suggested that, rather than cutting out the third-party retailers or sticking with the status quo, EE may adopt a “store-within-a-store” approach, as it has with Samsung, where a dedicated area of the shop would be given over to the EE brand.

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