John Lewis Enters Mobile Market With SIM-Free Handsets And Vodafone Contracts

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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John Lewis hopes SIM-free iPhones, extra guarantees, accidental damage cover and ‘never knowingly undersold’ pledge will help it attract high street custom

John Lewis is to offer SIM-free smartphones and Vodafone’s contracts online and in-store, hoping a focus on customer support will attract consumers looking towards the high street for a new handset.

Starting today, the retailer will offer 25 handsets from Samsung, Sony, Motorola, HTC, LG, Microsoft and Doro, with Apple devices including the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus added to the range in early July, when the handsets will also be available in John Lewis’s flagship Oxford Street store.

From August, customers will also be able to purchase Vodafone contracts with two years’ inclusive accidental damage cover from the retailer’s Cheadle store, while a dedicated area of the Oxford Street outlet will open in September.

John Lewis mobile

John Lewis Oxford StreetAll devices sold will come with a two year guarantee (Apple devices sold elsewhere only come with a one year warranty) and will be covered by John Lewis’ “never knowingly undersold” promise of quality, price and service.

“We’ve got a very strong technology business and being able to offer customers mobile phones is an important part of our connected home strategy,” said Jonathan Marsh, electricals and home technology buying director at John Lewis. “We know from our website traffic and searches that customers are actively looking for mobiles from us, but it’s important we go into this market in a John Lewis way.

Never knowingly undersold

“At the moment there are thousands of potential combinations of mobile handsets and tariffs on the market, which can be really daunting for customers and this is why we’re determined to bring John Lewis levels of excellence, simplicity and value to the mobile market. Our buyers have done all the homework to make it easier for customers to find a deal that’s right for them.”

Following the demise of Phones4u, John Lewis’ main high street competition will be Carphone Warehouse, which is now part of the merged Dixons Carphone group. Vodafone consumer director Cindy Rose said the partnership was an ideal one for the operator.

“We pride ourselves on listening to our customers and helping them the perfect phone and plan that works for them,” she said. “This partnership with John Lewis is a great next step in our journey to becoming the UK’s best mobile network for service and sales.”

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