The mobile retailer Phones 4u has just announced that it is entering administration following the loss of another major network contract.
The company has gone to PricewaterhouseCoopers to seek administrators which should be appointed later today, following the loss of the network EE, which decided not to renew its contract with Phones 4u.
It follows a similar desertion by Vodafone, which announced its departure from the fold two weeks ago – with Vodafone products set to be removed from shelves next February – on top of previous withdrawals by O2 and Three. In other words, all the major networks in the UK have now taken their leave of the retailer, which leaves it with not a lot of options to offer potential customers.
CEO David Kassler told Reuters (opens in new tab) the simple truth of the matter: "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."
As of today, the firm has closed its 550 stores across the UK, with around 5,600 jobs now threatened. The administrators are expected to make the call about whether the business is still viable enough for the retail branches (or at least some of them) to reopen.
Even the Phones 4u website has been taken down, replaced by a simple message: "Following the unexpected decision of EE and Vodafone to withdraw supply from Phones 4u, we regret that we are offline. Please accept our apologies and we will update you as soon as possible."
It adds: "Thank you for your custom – the heartbroken Phones4u Team."
Things look pretty bleak right now, that's for sure, but some sort of deal may be possible to keep Phones 4u going in at least some form.