Victory in long-running Phones4U trial

Ewan McQuater KC, Adam Kramer KC and Hannah Glover have successfully defended Vodafone against highly-publicised claims of collusion and anti-competitive conduct brought by the former mobile phone retailer, Phones 4U. Mr Justice Roth has today dismissed claims brought by Phones 4U against each of the major mobile network operators active in the market in 2014 – O2, Vodafone and EE, together with EE’s parent companies, Orange and Deutsche Telekom – by which it alleged that senior executives from each of those operators had colluded on various occasions between 2012 and 2014 to terminate their contracts to supply Phones 4U and so remove it from the market. P4U claimed damages in an amount said to exceed £1bn.

Following a trial of more than 9 weeks, in which the Court heard evidence from 41 factual witnesses and 4 expert witnesses, the Court rejected all Phones 4U’s claims for breach of competition law. Vodafone’s decision to no longer supply mobile phone ‘connections’ to Phones 4U was found to be the result of an extensive process of commercial analysis, in which it acted independently and without knowledge of its competitors’ actions.

Ewan McQuater KC, Adam Kramer KC and Hannah Glover acted, together with Rob Williams KC, for Vodafone Limited and Vodafone Group Plc, instructed by John Tillman and Angus Coulter of Hogan Lovells.

A copy of the judgment can be found here.

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