John Lewis is selling Sim-free handsets online from today, and it has announced plans to begin selling fixed mobile contracts from Vodafone in two of its flagship stores.
The retail giant says it's made the move as it knows from its website traffic and searches that customers are actively looking for mobiles from it.
Here's what's happening:
25 handsets in trial run
From today until the end of the year, John Lewis is trialling selling 25 Sim-free mobile handsets online. These include the Samsung Galaxy S6, Sony Xperia Z3 and Microsoft Lumia 640, although it won't sell the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus until early July.
The biggest potential benefit for customers is that all of these Sim-free handsets come with a two-year guarantee, longer than the standard one-year warranty with Apple products, for example.
But before buying, check if you can get the phone cheaper elsewhere. John Lewis is selling the Samsung Galaxy S6 64GB for £629.99, for example, but you can get the same phone for £599 – £31 less – from GiffGaff.
However, John Lewis says it will extend its 'never knowingly undersold' price promise to mobiles, which means if a high street competitor is offering a cheaper price for the same product, it will match it.
So if the price is as good as you'd find elsewhere, you at least get the two-year guarantee.
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Vodafone mobile contracts available in-store soon
John Lewis also announced a trial partnership with Vodafone to offer 12- to 24-month mobile contracts (the majority will be for 24 months) via the Vodafone network.
John Lewis says it will be recommending two tariffs – one with a low data limit, the other with a higher limit – but customers will be able to sign up to any Vodafone contract.
The handsets will come with a two-year guarantee in addition to free, two-year accidental damage insurance.
The retailer says it will offer about 40 Vodafone handsets, including Samsung Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6 models.
The Vodafone handsets will be sold from August in the store's Cheadle branch in Greater Manchester, and from late September/early October in its Oxford Street branch in London. The retailer says it won't sell mobile contracts online until it sees how successful the trial is.
If you're thinking of buying a Sim-free phone or Vodafone contract mobile from John Lewis, always compare prices first to see if you can get better deals elsewhere.