EE’s long-running review of its indirect relationships, which has kept its partners on tenterhooks for more than a year, is within weeks of concluding.
The operator told Mobile this week that the review will be finalised over the ‘next few weeks’, with all partners informed of any changes to partner agreements in the interim.
EE launched the review as part of a major overhaul of its consumer distribution strategy in January last year. EE chief commercial officer Marc Allera said at the time its brief was to create ‘fewer, deeper, longer-term relationships with key partners.’ EE pledged to conclude the review within six months.
An EE spokeswoman said the operator had finally begun the process of concluding its review of all partners, starting with Dixons Carphone, which announced a long-term partnership with EE at the end of January.
Partners welcomed the news, with a number complaining that the uncertainty created by the review had impacted on their businesses.
Industry sources claim the delays were exacerbated by the collapse of Phones 4u in September last year, which saw EE buy 58 of the defunct retailer’s high street stores. This triggered an investigation by the Competition and Mergers Authority (CMA) into whether Vodafone’s purchase of 150 phones Phones 4u stores would impact on competition in the market. The CMA finally gave the green light to the deal earlier this month.
EE declined to discuss why the review was delayed this week. The operator also declined to comment on whether some of its trading relationships would be terminated.