Vodafone has terminated its airtime deal to provide connections to A1 Comms’ online and retail businesses.
Under the move A1 Comms’ online businesses Buymobilephones.net, Affordablemobiles and Phones.co.uk and its 90-plus Go Mobile franchise stores will no longer sell Vodafone connections to customers.
Vodafone’s decision will come as a blow to A1 Comms. The move closely follows the termination of the company’s airtime contract with O2 in November last year.
The operator’s move sent a chill around the retail industry this week with some speculating that A1 Comms is just the first trading partner to feel the impact of Vodafone’s recently launched strategy to develop a more direct relationship with its customers.
The strategy has already seen Vodafone announce plans to add another 150 stores to its portfolio this year, bringing the total number of Vodafone stores to more than 500 stores.
Although Vodafone is not A1 Comms’ biggest airtime partner, sources said A1 Comms had boosted sales of the operator’s connections to ‘a few thousand’ a month.
Vodafone’s exit sees the Alfreston-based company continuing to provide the bulk of it airtime connections via EE. It also offers its online and retail customers airtime connections with Three.
It is understood Vodafone’s decision does not affect A1 Comms’ B2B customers with both Vodafone and O2 connections still being sold along with EE and Three connections to customers via the company’s b2b division.
A Vodafone spokesman confirmed Vodafone’s decision. He said: ‘We can confirm that we have agreed with A1 that we will end our trading relationship.’
A1 Comms was unavailable for comment as Mobile went to press.