In this section

Autumn 2015


Our co-operative difference
New products and services
Meet our Affinity Partner

You can also download a pdf version of this newsletter here.


Introducing Fairphone 2

Fiona Ravenscroft, Head of Products & Systems

The first Fairphone was a big hit for us, and a natural fit for The Phone Co-op. Both our service and the first model have been given 'Best Buy' ratings by Ethical Consumer Magazine, so we are pleased that we will be continuing our partnership with Fairphone and offering the next model, Fairphone 2, later this year. Together we can further challenge the mobile market and give customers an alternative choice.

Thanks to the 60,000 people who purchased the first smartphone, Amsterdam-based organisation Fairphone have been able to take the next step in their strategy to change the way products are made. The new design allows them to take their ambitions for fairness even further, gaining greater oversight of the supply chain and expanding the market for Fairphones that put ethical values first. They focus on making a phone that lasts longer, sourcing materials that support local economies, and minimising social and environmental impacts.

A robust phone that's designed to last

The Fairphone 2 has been purposely designed to be used for as long as possible. It uses a modular design that allows it to be opened and its parts replaced. Its components use
proven technology that offers the best balance of value and performance. In addition it's been subjected to rigorous testing and has a unique protective case, integrated into the phone itself, to ensure it can handle the bumps and falls that come with daily use. Spare parts can be purchased to give users more ownership of every part of their phone, including its software.


A competitive, high performance phone

Fairphone 2 will be a high-quality phone and will provide a satisfying experience for years to come. The improvements made to the phone's architecture will enhance its overall performance and provide a first-rate
user experience.

Fairphone have selected a powerful and mature platform making the Fairphone 2 more expensive than the original, but the added cost of using a more robust platform is easily offset by the fact that owners will not need additional computing capability or have to upgrade the phone for a much longer time. The Fairphone 2 is built on a Snapdragon™ 801 platform, which provides a nice balance between functionality, performance, availability and cost.

Key specs

  • Dual SIM
  • 5-inch, Full HD LCD screen
  • Android™ 5.1, Lollipop
  • 4G LTE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth®
  • Qualcomm® quad core processor

Fairphone 2 materials and processing

The materials and steps required to produce the new phone were purposely evaluated, especially the mechanical parts, in order to minimize the social and environmental impact of their production. Conflict-free tin and tantalum have been sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and surrounding countries giving support to local communities instead of militia groups that still control most of the mines in this region. In the future, Fairphone will look into methods of recovering as many of the valuable materials used in the phone when old units are recycled at the end of their lifespan.

When you buy a Fairphone 2, you're supporting much more than the creation of a smartphone. You're
also contributing to a fairer way of doing business that influences a more responsible supply chain.

To be one of the first to receive Fairphone 2, register your interest and we'll keep you updated on when you can purchase one:

  • Via monthly contract
  • Buy outright with Pay As You Use or Pay As You Go

Summer Newsletter Feedback

Thank you to all who kindly responded to our survey on the last newsletter. We love to hear your views!

We were very pleased that the majority of you enjoyed getting the newsletter and saw it as a real co-op difference. We would therefore like to apologise to the few of you who felt that it was unnecessary but hope that you can understand why it continues to keep the majority happy. We do always aim to reduce the amount of paper used however so to receive an electronic copy (if you can!) please visit or call 01608 434000.

We're sorry to hear that for some, the colour and design style make this tricky to read. We will work to minimalise this. If you can, please look at the on-line version that will just be black text on a white background.

Back to top

Our co-operative difference

New Co-op Student House in Sheffield

Following last year's successful launch of the UK's first student housing co-operative in Birmingham - with The Phone Co-op's support, the initiative is being extended, with a further purchase in Sheffield.


Founding members of Sheffield Student Housing Co-op

The property in the Crookes area of the city will be leased on a long-term basis to the new Sheffield Student Housing Cooperative, enabling them to get started, housing 5 students. The project has suffered delays due
to planning and legal issues but completion is now close and the aim is to have the property in use by the start of the academic year in September. Rosie Evered, one of the founding directors of the new co-operative, commented:

"We are all really excited about the launch of a student housing co-operative in Sheffield. The support The Phone Co-op has given has been a real example of co-operation between cooperatives and has helped us overcome the financing difficulties experienced by groups like ours. Without it, I doubt we would have been able to get off the ground."

The initiative reflects The Phone Co-op's strong commitment to the development of the cooperative movement. Student housing co-ops are widespread in North America and we would be delighted to see the model established in the UK too.

Back to top

Support for Member Capital Pitch

Vivian Woodell, Chief Executive

The pitch on how to help the co-operative movement strengthen and develop from The Phone Co-op's Chief Executive gains support.

At this year's Co-operative Congress, delegates were asked to "pitch" their ideas on how to help the co-operative movement strengthen and develop. I proposed that co-operatives should focus further on raising
more of the capital they need from their own members. The Phone Co-op has been particularly successful at raising capital from our members, with those investments now totalling over £6 million.


Member investment is not just a source of capital which is less expensive and more patient than credit from banks. When members invest, they become more engaged with their co-operatives. They have an investment in its success which is not just financial - it engenders a strong sense of ownership and loyalty, which can help co-operatives build successful businesses, as well as strong democratic culture.

Delegates were able to cast votes for the different pitches and it was agreed that our proposal will form part of Co-operatives UK's programme for the coming year.

To participate in the Co-op Congress 2015 action plan please visit - 

Back to top

New products and services

Use your numbers wisely

Jo Davis, Customer Services Manager

From July 2015 calls to numbers beginning 084, 087, 09 or 118 are now broken down into a service charge and an access charge. The service charge is set by the organisation you are calling and is displayed wherever the number is advertised. We add the Access charge, which from a landline is 7.2p per minute or from a mobile is 21p per minute including VAT. Many of you will have noticed these changes in your last bills.

Directory Enquiries

Did you know that the cost of calling Directory Enquiries could be £3.99 per call and £1.39 per minute, plus our access charge? Save money by using these websites;

    10 searches per day free of charge
    Uses the Telephony Directory database and the Electoral Roll
    Prefer to call from a landline?
  • 'The Number': 0800 118 3733
    Automated service allows free enquiries with advertising. Pre-register on
  • Free 195 Directory Enquiries

For people not physically able to use a Phone Book, call 0800 587 0195 to request a registration form
More info can be found here:

Do you need to call 0845 and 0870 numbers?

The cost of calling these numbers has gone up considerably and instead of increasing the price of inclusive packages we have removed 0845/0870 from our inclusive packages. BT kept these calls inclusive but on 20th September they are increasing both their line rental and call package prices. We think our action is much fairer because most organisations you might call are now advertising 03 or landline numbers instead and these are included your call package. This has been helped by the Government introducing new legislation last year that put an end to expensive customer helpline numbers. Firms advertising customer helplines must provide numbers that are charged at the basic rate i.e. that cost the same as a standard landline or mobile call or else are free.

You can usually avoid calling 0845 or 0870 numbers and here are some handy tips*:

  1. Check the organisation's website or published material for an alternative 01, 02, 03 or 0800 number or search for their name and contact details via Google.
  2. Look on the website for numbers that are meant for people to use if they're calling from overseas. This will be a landline and can usually get you through to the same point.
  3. Check the website They provide a list of alternative numbers that can be dialled instead of 0845 or 0870 numbers.

*Please note that we cannot guarantee this advice will find you an alternative number so can't be held responsible for calls made.

Do you have a 0845 number?

If you have one of our 0845 numbers then consider an alternative so that it is not expensive for people to call you. We can provide you with a 03 number and this will cost you 1.5p/minute ex VAT for each call you receive. Alternatively we will be able to provide you with another landline number. This is called a virtual number and can either be diverted to your landline or you can receive the call on your computer like a Skype call or with a VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone. There is just a small fee to divert the call to your landline, but it costs nothing to receive calls on your computer or VoIP phone. This is a product we offer our business customers and will be offering our residential customers in the near future so if you are interested please can you contact us so we can shape the product to your needs. To express interest, please email and we will be in touch.

Back to top


100% superfast for West Oxfordshire

We are currently working with Cotswolds Broadband with a view to offering superfast broadband in the West Oxfordshire region. Cotswolds Broadband have secured funding to create a superfast broadband network available to 100% of households and businesses in the West Oxfordshire area. They are working to deliver the network in the New Year, filling in the gaps where no superfast is currently available. The aim is to enable households and businesses wherever they are located to access the latest technology. For further information visit


Meet our Affinity Partner

Warwick Folk Festival

Thank you to Heart of England Co-operative for inviting us to the Co-operative tent at the Warwick Folk Festival, we really enjoyed Jo Davis enjoying the Festival being part of it.


Jo davis enjoying the Festival

Further partnership with Friends of the Earth

Pat Moral, social Media Marketing Executive

Back in July, we were invited to Friends of the Earth Round Table Conference hosted by their CEO Craig Bennet.

As one of our newer partners we were delighted to be part of this focus group helping them shape the next
decade of Friends of the Earth's work. Because that's what being affinity partners is all about, supporting each
other with positive ideas.


Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

Board and members support motion to condemn TTIP

During our Half Yearly Meeting in July, our member Philip Fletcher, introduced a motion requesting that The Phone Co-op condemn the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Despite its less than exciting title, this free trade and investment treaty, currently being negotiated between the European Union and the USA, has a lot of people up in arms. Campaign group 38 Degrees' petition has so far raised 2.3million signatures against it across Europe. Key concerns surround the secrecy of negotiations and that it may weaken EU bans on potentially hazardous chemicals and give companies the power to sue Governments. There is definitely uncertainty surrounding the outcomes and the Board agreed to support the motion and it was passed by the members.

With key decisions being made around TTIP through to the end of the year, we urge members to find out

Back to top

Share £40 with a friend

Happy with our services? Proud of being a member of The Phone Co-op?
Then recommend us to a friend to share £40. or call us on 01608 434000.
Follow us on Twitter @phonecoop and
and spread the word.


We are here to serve our members and customers, and we like to provide you with interesting news and updates. Tell us how we are doing and if there is anything you want us to write about. Contact us by email on


Need help?

Call us on 01608 434 000 for assistance, or send us an e-mail and we'll call you.