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EE considering Carphone Warehouse withdrawal

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EE may be preparing to withdraw its smartphone handsets from availability at Carphone Warehouse, according to a recent report.

The Telegraph issued a report at the weekend that claimed the UK’s biggest mobile operator EE was poised to pull out of its relationship with high street retailer Carphone Warehouse.

This is said to be part of a consumer retail strategy review the operator is conducting, which will conclude "within weeks."

Sources claim that EE ditching Carphone Warehouse would be the potential result of this review.

Carphone Warehouse acts as an independent mobile phone retail outlet that enables customers to compare contract deals across the UK’s three leading mobile networks - EE, Vodafone, and O2. The loss of EE, which holds one third of the UK market, would be a massive blow

Such a withdrawal would also pose a threat to Carphone Warehouse’s merger with the Dixons group.

The report claims that while EE hasn’t made a definitive decision to withdraw, "it would be the result of two of the three possible scenarios under advanced discussion."

This review could also have an impact on the mobile operator’s relationship with Carphone Warehouse’s key rival, Phones4U.

EE for its part has denied that it is planning to pull out of the Carphone Warehouse relationship, but has stopped short of offering assurances that it will remain.

"We announced a review of our distribution strategy a few months ago and this process is ongoing," an EE spokesperson told PC Pro. "Discussions [are] continuing with all relevant parties, including Carphone Warehouse, who [is] a long-standing and important partner."

While nothing is definite, then, the future looks far from bright for this particular mobile partnership.

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