We were only just coming to terms with the death of the iPod classic, and now we’ve another bereavement in the mobile family.
High street mobile retailer Phones 4u has reluctantly thrown in the towel, having been unexpectedly abandoned by the last two of the Big Four, namely EE and Vodafone.
The news means the immediate closure of 550 stores across the country, and the loss of up to 5,596 jobs. Staff have been asked to attend work as normal this morning, and they’ll “continue to be paid” for now, but it doesn’t look good.
The “We are offline” holding page at phones4u.co.uk explains: “Following the unexpected decision of EE and Vodafone to withdraw supply from Phones4U, we regret that we are offline.”
The message is signed off by “The heartbroken Phones4u Team”, complete with a sad smiley.
A further statement reads: “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."
Phones 4u promises that existing contracts will be unaffected, while in-progress orders will be refunded post haste.
A further statement is expected later today, and administrators will ultimately decide if reopening stores is a viable option, but given that the retailer has now been abandoned by all four major UK mobile networks, it seems unlikely.