In a stunning development, high street UK mobile phone retailer Phones4U has gone into administration. This comes after both Vodafone and EE refused to extend their carrier contracts with Phones4U, effectively bringing an end to the retailer in its current state.
A Phones4U statement reads as follows:
"The unexpected decisions by both Vodafone and EE have come as a complete shock to the business. The company is in a healthy state and both EE and Vodafone had, until very recently, consistently indicated that they saw Phones 4u as a long-term strategic partner."
EE has made the following statement to Pocket-lint:
"In line with our strategy to focus on growth in our direct channels and to move to fewer, deeper relationships in the indirect channel, and driven by developments in the marketplace that have called into question the long term viability of the Phones 4u business, we can confirm that we have taken the decision not to extend our contract beyond September 2015. We will monitor developments and work to provide any necessary support for customers who joined EE through Phones 4u."
This obviously came without much warning to the retailer, as last Friday Phones4U began accepting preorders for the new Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Regarding the status of the preorders, Phones4U spokesman Robert White said "Any orders that have not already been dispatched will be cancelled and any payments refunded to customers."
After O2's departure in May, Vodafone's last week and EE today, Virgin Mobile remains the only UK carrier currently selling devices through Phones4U. It's unknown what caused such a mass carrier exodus from Phones4U, a retailer which by all accounts generated over £100 million in profits and has 550 standalone stores.
As of today, all of the current 5,596 staff continue to be employed, but the company's 720 retail outlets will be closed. Both Phones4U and Dialaphone websites are no longer taking orders, with www.phones4u.co.uk showing the following statement:
We'll have more on this story as it develops.