The UK’s three largest operators could face legal action over fresh allegations of collusion, which led to the demise of mobile phone retailer Phones4u, reported The Telegraph.
According to a report, Vodafone, EE and O2 are being pursued by the investigations team of PwC – Phones4u’s creditors – with disputes also relating to hundreds of millions of pounds in commission claims apparently due from Vodafone and EE.
The Telegraph claimed PwC investigators, a law firm, are focussed on allegations that the mobile operators were in cahoots to shut Phones4u out of the market.
Phones4u founder John Caudwell, who sold the business in 2006, made similar allegations after the firm went into administration, as did the company’s private equity owner BC Partners.
The centre of the claims focus on comments made in meetings by O2, one of the retailer’s three main suppliers, which pulled out of its contract in early 2014.
This was followed a few months later by Vodafone and then EE, leaving Phones4u unable to pay its debts and triggered its collapse.
PwC is now attempting to recover as much cash as possible, on behalf of the holders of £430 million in secured notes, said the report, and could claim further damages in court.
Regarding the mobile contract commission payments, EE reportedly has sent a letter warning of a counter claim for “very substantial damages” for a breach of contract by Phones4u.
O2, meanwhile, said it responded to such allegations in July 2015, “vigorously denying them”.