Apple is on the hunt for UK repairs specialists to deliver major iPhone and iPad repairs contracts in a shake up that sees its repair operations for UK network partners shifted from China to the UK.
The manufacturer has issued Request for Information (RFI) documents to several UK repair firms and will invite a shortlist of firms to bid for the lucrative repair contracts early next year.
Firms in the running include Anovo, Regenersis, SBE and Unipart, sources claim. All four companies declined to comment.
One source said: ‘Apple has issued RFIs to certain companies and they are expecting to hear in three or four weeks whether they are on the shortlist. Apple is seriously looking at moving all its iPhone and iPad repairs to in-country repair centres.’
Under the deal, repairs suppliers will be accredited to carry out high level repairs for Apple on network operators’ iPhones and iPads.
Currently UK repair centres are only accredited to deliver basic Level One non-invasive iPhone and iPad repairs, with all high level repairs sent to Foxconn’s centres in China.
Apple’s move is driven by rising competition from rivals, the need to cut costs and mounting pressure from operators for greater control over the repair cycle, sources say.
A manufacturer source said: ‘Operators want more control over the repair cycle, which is costing them quite a lot in substantial charges for customer-induced damage. Also, the system of replacing like-with-like is expensive. UK repairs specialists can offer much lower costs as they will be able to offer a repairs service rather than a swap out.’
Apple has yet to reveal how it will let the packages. One source said: ‘Apple could let one contract for each network operator or it could keep a tighter grip by letting one large contract servicing multiple operators.’
A telecoms analyst said: ‘As Apple’s volumes grow it has to keep a tighter grip on service levels, particularly as its high spending customers increasingly expect a high level of service, so this move is to be expected.’
Apple was unavailable for comment as Mobile went to press.