Vodafone - cutting its nose off to spite its own face?

Fascinating to read over the weekend about Vodafone cutting an exclusive retail sales deal with Phones4U, the ex-Caudwell cellular phone retail chain, and cutting Carphone Warehouse out of the contract sales picture entirely.

The move sent Carphone's share price spinning, of course, but you have to question the impartiality of Phones4U's deal, as the dealer's sales staff will undoubtedly "offer" customers a Vodafone deal over a package from the other networks.

The arrangement has potentially severe ramifications for the future of the UK cellular industry, as it's what economists call an oligopoly marketing situation.

Basically it restricts customer choice and that goes against the principles of free trade. I'm surprised, in fact, that the OFT hasn't stepped into mediate on the arrangement.

Longer term, I suspect punters will end up paying more for their Vodafone contract deals and phone calls.

There are ways of cutting your mobile phone costs, of course - read about them here...