The two mobile phone networks that did not renew their contracts with Phones 4U have both expressed an interest in acquiring the business after the retailer fell into administration.
According to the FT, EE is interested in a ‘handful’ of Phones 4U’s 550 stores and Vodafone has been approached by administrators but ‘will not be commenting on the detail of those discussions’.
News of the interest gives some hope to the 5,000-plus Phones 4U staff whose jobs are at risk.
Phones 4U said it had been ‘forced’ into administration after Vodafone and EE turned their backs on the retailer.
Phones 4U CEO David Kassler said: "A good company making profits of over £100 million and employing thousands of decent people has been forced into administration.
"The great service we have provided should have guaranteed a strong future, but unfortunately our network partners have decided otherwise.
"The ultimate result will be less competition, less choice and higher prices for mobile customers in UK."
Analyst Kantar Worldpanel told PCR that the retailer’s exit from the market will not benefit indies.
"It is unlikely that independent technology retail businesses will experience a significant uplift as a result of Phones 4U’s exit," said Fiona Keenan, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel.
"Consumers are much savvier now than they have been in the past and increasingly look online to compare the best deals. Online now accounts for a third of handset sales and independent retailers are less likely to be able to be as price competitive as larger vendors, or have the infrastructure in place to compete in this space.”
Dixons Carphone has offered to help Phones 4U concession staff to keep their jobs: "With regards to our Phones 4U shop-in-shop colleagues we hope to help them secure new jobs with us and will be opening up discussions with the administrators to agree what we can do.”