In this section

Summer 2014

Our co-operative difference
New products and services
Meet out Affinity Partner
Back and forward
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The Phone Co-op supports launch of UK's first student housing co-op 

The Phone Co-op supports launch of UK's first student housing co-op In July, Birmingham Student Housing Co-operative opened the doors of its first property. It offers affordable, democratically-run accommodation to 9 students thanks to The Phone Co-op.

Launch Birmingham June 2014.jpgCo-ops are helping students to get cheaper and more efficient accomodation

The Phone Co-op has purchased the property to help Birmingham Student Housing Co-operative start up. The
house has been leased to the student housing co-op on a long term basis and the housing co-op is renting the
rooms to its student-members.

Vivian Woodell, CEO of The Phone Co-op, said: "Birmingham Student Housing Co-op found it a struggle to raise the funds to buy its own property, so we talked about how we could help. We are pleased to support the rapidly growing student co-operative movement in the UK."

Birmingham Student Housing Co-op is a member of Students for Cooperation, the national network of student co-ops, which we supported this year with a £5k grant from our Co-operative and Social Economy Development Fund so they could hold their first national conference.

Vivian commented: "It is very inspiring to see a new generation using the co-op model to solve their problems. I hope we'll be able to support them further in the coming months." Watch this space for updates.

Our place in the UK's co-op movement

Our place in the UK's co-op movement For much of the past year you could not pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV or radio without hearing about the co-operative movement. The media coverage focused on the problems of the Co-operative Bank and the Co-operative Group. This has naturally prompted some of our customers and members to ask about how The Phone Co-op fits in and whether it's affected by the problems at the Group.

The Phone Co-op is one of the coop movement's success stories. It is a fully independent co-operative with its own membership and board, and with a strong balance sheet.

While there has been some damage to the national Co-operative brand which we share, we believe that this is not permanent and that we should stick together as a movement and work to make the brand a success, reflecting our shared co-operative values and principles.

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Our co-operative difference

Half-Yearly Meeting: The Phone Co-op puts its members to work!

The Phone Co-op held its first Half-Yearly Meeting on 12th July. It had a different feel to any members' gatherings we had run before. Our Secretary, Amanda Beard, summarises the outcomes of the day...


It was our first half yearly meeting and I feel it was a great success. Despite the rather hot and sticky day, we really appreciated how many of you turned up and contributed your ideas and views.

There was no shortage of ideas for developments, especially to the products and services we offer, including new bundles, forums, an ethical mobile phone that isn't a smartphone, prices on the front page of the website and much more.

Regarding the national Co-operative brand which we adopted in 2012 there were various opinions though the majority felt there was strength and solidarity in continuing to use it.

You also gave us suggestions on how to increase member engagement, such as using members' skills and setting
up member groups.

What happens next? All your thoughts and ideas have been collated and will be discussed by our Board and our Management Team, who will feed them into our planning process where we can. Of course, we'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, please, do carry on sharing your invaluable ideas. It's your co-op!

Read more about the meeting on   
Sign up online by 31st August 2014     

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A word from... David Legge

A customer of The Phone Co-op for seven years, David Legge joined our Board of Directors in January 2014. We David Legge 1.jpgrecently interviewed him and asked him about what he can contribute to our co-op. This is what he said:

"Firstly, I like to regard myself as a steady pair of hands. I'm conscious I've been elected by our members to
look after their co-operative for them. And I'm honoured.

Secondly, I will focus on making sure we give our customers and members a fair and transparent deal including clear communication of any changes which is where a lot of large corporations fall down.

Thirdly, I try to improve the workings of any group I'm a part of and will bring that experience to the Board.

It's been eye-opening for me to see inside the world of co-operatives. Whilst I have been shopping and banking (and phoning) with them all my life I never realised it was an entire active and lively 'ecosystem'. But it's under some duress at the moment, so it's all hands to the pump."

Want to find out more about David? Check out his interview on our Membership Blog.

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A Fairphone from The Phone Co-op

Back in June we asked you whether you'd be interested in us offering Fairphone with our Co-operative Mobile bundles. You then said 'yes', and you know your wish is our command, so... we've done it!

Why Fairphone?

We encourage you not to get a new handset unless you really need one; however, if that's the case, why not Fairphone - product image.jpgchoose a mobile phone that is produced with the Conflict-Free Tin Initiative and Solutions for Hope to source conflict-free tin and tantalum in Africa, and which is working to improve fair factory working conditions?

Fairphone is produced by a social enterprise, an organisation that puts people and the environment first - just like we do. It's committed to reducing electronic waste and the negative impact it has on the planet: by selling spare parts; providing self-repair guides and safe recycling programmes.

We're glad to announce The Phone Co-op has just entered an exciting new partnership with the Dutch social enterprise that produces Fairphone. The Phone Co-op will be the UK's only stockist of Fairphone and will offer the ethical smartphone with our Co-operative Mobile contracts and with our Pay As You Go services.

Getting a Fairphone with one of our mobile contracts can help those who prefer to spread the cost of the handset (£250 approx.).

The Fairphone can take two SIM cards (e.g. a work and a personal one), offering greater flexibility.

For now, we have ordered only a limited number of Fairphones and we'll be offering them to our customers on a first-come, first-served basis. So if you want one, make sure you pre-book yours.

Pre-order your Fairphone bundle!
Monthly contracts available from £22 per month (24-month contract)
Call 01608 434040 or visit

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Make your number work for your business

The Co-operative Business Telecoms' new numbering platform allows us to provide a range of numbers and a wider range of flexible call handling options for both outbound and inbound solutions.
Our extensive range of geographic (01 & 02) and non-geographic (08 & 03) numbers means we can provide a local or national presence to your organisation in almost every part of the UK. For example, are you based in rural Yorkshire but need a London number? We can provide it.

You can take your number with you when you relocate, even if you're moving overseas, so that people can keep in touch with you easily without the high cost of international calls.

Our numbers can be used with our VoIP services or simply to route calls to your existing landline or mobile.

From £5.00 per month, take your number anywhere you want and put your organisation on the map with our numbering services. Call 01608 434070 for further details.

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Have you tried Pay As You Go yet?

Competitive rates, honest pricing, great coverage and, what really matters, provided by your own co-operative. What else could you ask for from a prepaid mobile service?
Order your SIM today on and start using it straightaway.

Oh, and tell your family and friends. You'll share in the profits!


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Meet our Affinity Partner 

Red Pepper: for those interested in social justice 

As a non-profit magazine, Red Pepper has operated on a shoestring since it was first set up in 1994. Our Affinity Partnership has offered them financial support over the years: Red Pepper gets a percentage of the spend of every new customer they bring to us.

Red Pepper is a bi-monthly magazine and website of left politics and culture drawing on feminist, green and libertarian thinking. It is completely independent and aims to be a forum for the left to debate ideas and action, a resource for movements for social justice, and a voice for grassroots campaigns.
Red Pepper 1.jpg
It's not easy for independent media today, but after twenty years of publication Red Pepper is still going strong. Kitty Webster, Coordinator at Red Pepper, says: "Being an affinity partner of The Phone Co-op helps provide us with much needed regular income, safe in the knowledge that we're working with an organisation that holds similar values to Red Pepper and will always put people before profit."

As well as their supporters' financial help, Red Pepper over the years has been sustained by the dedication of its many volunteers and its few parttime staff. It has a voluntary editorial collective who meet regularly to plan and put the magazine together, and a pool of writers and activists in countries all around the world who contribute to Red Pepper. The magazine has a circulation of 7,000 readers, and 40,000 visitors to their website every month.

Red Pepper is also so much more than just a source of news and information. It has a network of supporters called 'Friends of Red Pepper' who give the magazine a monthly donation, which enables them to put on events, host meetings and produce campaigning resources.

Kitty adds: "We've had a partnership with The Phone Co-op for nearly 13 years now - long may it continue!"

For more information about Red Pepper, visit

If you are involved in, or know of, an organisation that needs to raise funds, why not suggest they become
one of our Affinity Partners? Our partners endorse our services to their supporters and we share the revenue with them. To find out more, contact Pat Moral on 01608 647745 or 


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Back and forward

One year of teleconferencing services...

How time flies! It's a year now since Community Network's teleconferencing services transferred to The Phone Co-op and it's been a great addition to The Co-operative Business Telecoms family of services. Telephone conferencing has added £118,000 to our sales for the first 6 months of the year. Thank you to all of you that have turned to The Phone Co-op for your conference calls.

... and a warm welcome to our new customers

We are delighted to announce that Namesco's broadband services transferred to The Phone Co-op on 31st May. 2,400 new individual and business customers joined us.

You can now receive technical support and advice from our UK based Customer Services team, as any other Phone Co-op's customers. Our colleagues can advice on new packages and a wider range of services to suit your communications needs. We're happy to help. Contact us on 01608 434000 or enquiries@

Remember that you can also become a member, co-own our business and share the profits.

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