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The proposed Transfer of Engagements will be put to members of The Phone Co-op at a Special General Meeting at Sheffield Hallam University on Saturday 28th April.
The Phone Co-op has for 20 years pioneered the delivery of co-operative residential and business telecommunications in the UK, leading the market in a number of innovations.
Midcounties Co-operative is one of the UK’s largest retail co-operatives with over 650,000 members and operates Co-operative Energy. Since its launch in 2010 Co-operative Energy has won the Which? Positive Change award in 2012 and the EU Sustainable Energy Award in Europe award in 2015.
Nick Thompson, CEO of The Phone Co-op added: ‘I am delighted that The Phone Co-op’s consistent success in building a successful consumer co-operative in telecommunications and cloud services has been recognised by Midcounties. I firmly believe that working together with Midcounties and Co-operative Energy we have a unique opportunity to grow, and serve our members, with a pretty unique set of products that will prepare us for the future and will enable us to advance in the digital and social inclusive arena in what it is clearly a broken market. This is an exciting opportunity that promises to offer The Phone Co-op the chance to write a new chapter in its history of co-operative telecoms.’
Both boards recognise the close synergy between two businesses providing essential services to homes and businesses up and down the UK, as well as the potential to provide a comprehensive utilities service that meets the needs of members across both societies. Both businesses will continue to operate individually whilst maximising the opportunities to provide quality service and cost savings to each other’s customer bases.
Jane Watts, Chair of the Board of Directors at The Phone Co-op said: ‘Why we believe this to be the best way forward, is in part driven by our members’ obvious concern about continuing to have as a major part of our co-operative, the provision of household level telecommunications. The reach offered by Midcounties, as they have shown through Co-op Energy, is considerable, and so is the level of customer service.
The transition period will be significant and will enable us to share our high levels of customer service and approaches to the telecommunications world. This is a good example of co-operatives working co-operatively and we are assured that our brand will be kept.’
The Phone Co-op has recently launched a 2018 – 2022 Business Strategy which will be maintained within the parameters of jointly agreed business planning processes.
The importance of both Chipping Norton, as The Phone Co-op’s home and an important location in Midcounties retail estate, and Manchester is recognised by all parties and The Phone Co-op’s offices will be retained.
The process for a Transfer of Engagements requires two members’ votes with The Phone Co-op Special General Meeting providing the forum for the first vote. In the event of a positive vote a 2nd meeting will be organised at a date to be decided in May.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Phone Co-op is a telecoms provider based in Chipping Norton (Oxfordshire) and in Manchester. It is a consumer co-operative, owned by its members, who are its customers. It provides products and services (phone, mobile and broadband as well as business data services) to residential and business customers throughout the UK. It also provides teleconferencing facilities for charities, not for profit organisations and other co-operatives. Driven by its members, it has a strong focus on ethics, both social and environmental. The Phone Co-op has 30,000 business and residential customers, over 70 employees and more than 12,000 members. It started trading in 1998 and has grown steadily since then and now has a turnover of over £12.5 million.
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