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By | Joe Fay 8th June 2009 12:19

Vodafone and CPW set for big thaw

Just in time for Best Buy rebrand

The three year Cold War between Vodafone and Carphone Warehouse could break this week, weekend reports claimed.

The UK's biggest mobile operator and the UK's biggest mobile retailer fell out back in 2006, when Vodafone struck an exclusive reselling agreement with Phones4U covering contract phone sales. CPW continued to sell Vodafone's pre-paid packages.

But the Sunday Times reported this weekend that the two are on the brink of reinstating full relations, with a formal announcement due any time now.

The paper was short on detail of what the putative deal might look like, or why the firms have chosen now to resume relations.

However, CPW is in the middle of overhauling its business, demerging its TalkTalk telecoms and broadband arm, and rebranding its retail operation as part of its relationship with BestBuy. That overhaul will see it moving into the mainstream electronics retail business.

BestBuy US seems to have a full-fat relationship with Verizon Wireless, the US mobile operator in which Vodafone has a share. It would be little surprise if this, together with the prospect of a much expanded CPW retail network, prompted Vodafone to rethink its strategy in the UK. ®

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