HomeBT exec denies discussing plan to ‘starve’ Phones4U

BT exec denies discussing plan to ‘starve’ Phones4U

BT executive Marc Allera has been accused of discussing how the collapsed retailer Phones 4U could be “starved” if his company abandoned it.

The head of BT’s consumer arm, Allera was cross-examined over allegations that he and fellow executives at mobile subsidiary EE sought a plan with competitors to destroy Phones 4U, an allegation he denies.

At a High Court hearing, he denied he had been tipped off that Vodafone was set to pull its products from Phones 4U in August 2014.

Vodafone’s departure left Phones 4U reliant on EE as its only remaining partner.

By that point, Three and O2 had also ditched their contracts with the chain.

EE dropped its own contract with Phones 4U soon afterwards, which forced the retailer to collapse into administration in September 2014.

Administrators for Phones 4U argue that EE, Vodafone, O2 owner Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom and Orange “brazenly” conspired to drive the retailer out of the market and boost their own profits.

The companies all deny the claims, which have been dismissed by defence lawyers as a “conspiracy theory”.

Allera was investigated for internal documents and meetings, with Phones 4U’s lawyers arguing that he knew in advance that Vodafone would pull its products from the retailer.

Allera also rejected accusations that he had “strung along” Phones 4U with negotiations about extending EE’s supply deal.

In an August 2014 email setting out what EE should tell Phones 4U about the prospect of a deal, Allera said they should deny reaching agreements with anyone else.

It was sent on the same day that Allera and EE agreed in principle a new deal with Carphone Warehouse.

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