Vodafone looks increasingly likely to acquire a second mobile phone reseller, Peoples Phone, by the year end, signalling another aggressive move by the network owner into the reseller market.
Only last July Vodafone purchased mobile phone service provider Talkland and although neither of the companies involved in the latest speculation will comment, industry rumours suggest that the deal should be done and dusted within the next three months.
Peoples Phone has 160 shops throughout the UK and about 400,000 customers. ?The name of the game in this market is market share,? said Paul Lambert, analyst at Netcom Consultants. ?This would be good for Vodafone and good for Peoples Phone - it would allow Peoples Phone to propel itself into the millennium and Vodafone would immediately increase its market share by acquiring the existing customer base,? he commented.
Rival mobile phone supplier Orange was reported to have been in talks with Peoples Phone too, but Vodafone has closer links with the reseller as most Peoples Phone customers are Vodafone subscribers. One industry analyst also said: ?Orange probably can?t afford it. The company is still under performing. Its battle ground is with One-to-One.?
Despite Peoples Phone?s large customer base and 100-odd shop fronts which, according to Lambert, are well fitted out, well managed and equipped with catchy signs, the chain has still been losing money. The company came onto the market after abandoning a planned flotation earlier this year amid worries about falling growth in mobile phone demand. The company is expected to fetch around #90 million.
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