In this section

Winter 2015


Our co-operative difference
New products and services
News and updates

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


Fairphone 2's UK launch

Taylor McLeod, Project Consultant


The last weekend of September was a whirlwind of activity with the  Ethical Consumer Conference, the Green Party Conference and the Fairphone launch press event. The launch party happened on Friday evening with many people representing a cross section of the ethical and tech movements.

I got to meet the Fairphone team who are a lovely bunch that have successfully combined passion with positive impact.

There was a series of workshops over the weekend for members of the public to learn about and contribute to Fairphone.

Topics ranged from how the hardware was designed to what the next versions of the software might look like. People could play around with demo models and with simple tools and instructions they were able to disassemble the phone into its modular components.

Once you've bought your Fairphone, you own it fully and can do whatever you want with it. This contrasts sharply with Apple or Samsung, who are adamant that any unauthorised changes to software or hardware will void the warranty.

In my opinion, Fairphone 2 is a huge  upgrade on Fairphone 1. It's very  compelling with its high-performance specs,  durability, and 'fixability'. I think this phone will be very popular and many people will want to get their hands on one.

January pre-orders are now open!

If you have not pre-ordered your  Fairphone 2 yet, you are now too late for first delivery as we've sold out of our first batch. Good news, we're taking pre-orders at for January delivery. You only need to pay a £30 deposit to secure yours (totally refundable if you change your mind). One of the durability features of  Fairphone 2 is the cover which has a rubber  rim that wraps around the edge of the glass, protecting the display from most causes of screen damage. It is also drop proof up to 6 feet i.e. an average -sized Dutchman! The cover is available in five different colours: 

  • Blue Matte
  • Blue Translucent 
  • Transparent 
  • Black Matte 
  • Black Translucent


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Our co-operative difference

Unconference update


Phone Co-op Unconference in action

Many of you attended our Half Yearly Meeting where we held an "Unconference" for the first time.  Members suggested their own topics, joined small groups to discuss them and shared ideas.  The idea behind an unconference is that there is no action list as such but that those who participate should follow up ideas that appeal to them or that they feel passionate about, leading to further conversations. In fact, several of the ideas proposed are in progress: advice on alternatives to 0845 was included in our previous newsletter, an online members' forum is being considered and we are scanning more information and moving towards a paperless office.

Another good suggestion was that our marketing messages should be more assertive, with much more focus on vision and values. If you missed the event, you can read some entertaining blogs here

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Student housing co-op launches in Sheffield - with support from The Phone Co-op

Following the success of the Birmingham Student Housing Co-op which launched last year, The Phone Co-op has purchased a second house in Sheffield and leased it to the newly formed Sheffield Student Housing Co-operative. Sheffield is the latest in what is fast becoming a real movement - there is another new student housing co-op in Edinburgh (they lease their property from a housing association but The Phone Co-op has a link with them too as we provide the WiFi broadband service for their 106 residents). The Sheffield property will house five students, which means that the two co-ops The Phone Co-op has supported by buying the properties are housing a total of 12. This will soon rise to 13 as the Birmingham co-op is doing work to create an 8th bedroom. The Sheffield launch generated plenty of media interest, with a full-page article in the Observer, and a feature on BBC Radio 4's You and Yours which included an interview with our Chief Executive, Vivian Woodell.  Vivian commented:  

"We're delighted that as a result of these initiatives, students are discovering the power of the co-operative model. I am sure this will be something they carry with them and apply throughout their lives."

We did it! 11,000 members

We love a challenge here at The Phone Co-op, particularly if achieving it is for the benefit of our members.  We set ourselves the target of 11,000 members by  the end of August (our financial year end) and to make it more exciting  we promised a cream tea for all employees if we got there…

And we did!  Membership is really easy to promote because every customer benefits by becoming a member - for a minimum investment of £1 you become an owner of The Phone Co-op, can stand for the board, vote in elections, attend our AGM,  earn a dividend based on your call spend with us and interest on your investment. If you aren't yet a member then go to and help your friendly Phone Co-op folk earn their next treat!


2016 AGM

We are gearing ourselves up for what promises to be an exciting Annual General Meeting on Saturday 6 February 2016. It will be held in London this time, at Impact Hub, Westminster (, part of a global network  of locally owned collaborative working spaces.  We are thrilled to have found such an innovative partner and look forward to spending the day there.

All members are invited.  There will be workshops, films and discussions, as well as the formal part of the meeting.  There will be new and current board members to meet and get to know, and plenty of opportunity to chat to other members and employees.   This is your chance to have your say and get involved with the organisation that you own.

To register for the AGM, go to

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New products and services

Hints and tips for using email

We thought we would share with you some top tips about our email service to ensure that your messages are delivered where you can find them and your inbox is not cluttered with unwanted spam messages.

We all know how annoying spam can be, so our email service uses sophisticated filters to block the most obvious spam from being delivered into your inbox. Computers are clever, but not as clever as people, so sometimes the system can't be sure if a message is spam or genuine. In situations like this where an email might be spam, the system puts these emails into a folder called 'Quarantine' for borderline spam emails so that you can decide if you want to receive the message. Always check your quarantine folder for any wanted emails.

Depending on how you are set up you might find that you can't see the quarantine folder and you might miss some emails. There're a couple of things you can do to solve this:

  • Use webmail to view your quarantine folder

Go to and login. On the left hand side of the screen, click on 'my folders' and you will see the quarantine folder appear underneath along with the black and white list folders.

  • Change from using POP to IMAP when collecting your email.

There're two methods for downloading your email onto your computer so you can access your mail wtih a program like Microsoft Outlook or Thunderbird. They're called POP or IMAP.

The reason why some email programmes cannot display the quarantine folder is because you are using POP and not IMAP to get your email. We always recommend using IMAP because it is a better method to access your mail from multiple devices. If you check your email at work, on your mobile phone, and again at home, IMAP ensures that new mail is accessible from any device.

Another reason to choose IMAP is safety. Since the messages are stored on the server and not on your computer, you don't have to worry about losing your messages if your computer crashes or is stolen.

Finally, some email clients, such as Outlook, are more prone to certain bugs when using POP.

Once you've seen what's in your quarantine folder, you can then decide what you want to do with the message. If it isn't spam, you can move it to the 'Whitelisted' addresses folder. This means any future messages from that address should always be allowed and not moved to the quarantine folder. If the message is spam, moving it to the 'Blacklisted Addresses' folder means you will never see email from that sender again.

If you find you are still getting emails from the sepammer using a similar address with the same domain (the name after @) then try moving it to the 'Blacklisted Domains' folder.

For advice and help with any email issues, please contact our Technical Support Team on 01608 434000 option 3 or view our helpful support guides at

Superfast Broadband  is now half-price for  the first 6 months!

  • £9 per month for the first 6 months 
  • One-off set up fee of £30 
  • Unlimited broadband 
  • Speeds up to 36Mbps
  • Line rental with weekend calls for £15.50 per month

To find out more about our range  of superfast fibre broadband options and see if this service is available where you live, call our Customer Services team on 01608 434 040 or visit our website


Do you know a Sainsbury's mobile user?

…. let them know that The Phone Co-op will be the place to move their mobile number as Sainsbury's are stopping their services on 15 January 2016.

It's simple! All they need to do is request their Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) from Sainsbury's Mobile and we will do the rest.

If they are on a Pay As You Go service they can get the PAC number for Mobile by Sainsbury's by calling 40775 from their handset. They will text them the code within 2 hours: from that moment they have 30 days to transfer.

If they are on a Pay Monthly plan, send an email via or call 03333048047.

Once they have their PAC number they can switch online on our website or call our team on 01608 434 040. On the switching date, they just need to enter their new SIM into their handsets and use their phones as normal.

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 News and updates

The Phone Co-op wins Top Award

As we went to print, we were all bowled over by the exciting news that The Phone Co-op had won the prized award for Best ConsumerFacing Social Enterprise in the UK. The award was presented at Shakespeare's Globe where the annual Social Enterprise Awards ceremony took place.  The Phone Co-op was also a finalist for the overall Social Enterprise of the Year Award. The awards are given by Social Enterprise UK, the national umbrella body representing businesses with a social purpose as their main driver.

Vivian Woodell, The Phone Co-op's Chief Executive, commented: "We have consistently won high ratings and indeed other awards in the past, for the quality of our customer service. This is also borne out by our own customer surveys, which show an exceptionally high level of customer satisfaction. This award reflects not only those high standards, but the co-operative values we embrace, and how we put them into practice. It's a tribute to everyone at The Phone Co-op who has worked tirelessly to make The Phone Co-op one of the most successful, and values-driven  co-operatives in the UK". 


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PAYG's New Look

Have you spotted any of our new look Pay As You Go SIMs at the Co-operative Stores? We hope  you like them!

PAYGSIM_Pink PAYG_orange


Security statement

We all know that the amount of data now shared and held by computers makes them an attractive target for criminals.

The reality is that no system of security is perfect and new criminal threats are constantly emerging. The Phone Co-op exists for the benefit of its customers and members which means you can be confident that if we were ever to become aware that our security had been breached, we would act in your best interests. Our Privacy Policy ( is published on our website where you can find out more about the general use of your data and your rights.

Like us, you should also strive to follow best practice in how you share your data, keep your computer security up to date, and follow good password advice. For further information and for helpful and clear advice we recommend or for businesses

The Phone Co-op out & about in Chipping Norton

Thanks to our friends at the new Coop Store in Chipping Norton we are able to get out of the office and meet customers old and new. We will be there next on 11 December 2015 and 24 March 2016. If you're in the area come along and say 'hello' to Darren and other members of the team! 


2016 London Marathon

Daryl from our Customer Service team is running the 2016 London Marathon on behalf of Leonard Cheshire Disability. This is a charitable organisation that supports disabled people in having the freedom to live their lives the way they choose - with the opportunity and support to live independently, contribute economically and participate fully in society.

If you would like to sponsor him please go to his Just Giving( or Facebook pages (London Marathon in aid of Leonard Cheshire).

Feel free to sponsor him and help him achieve his goal!


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.