Starting a Mobile Phone Shop

  • Price: £5.99
  • Published: August 2017
  • Type: Business Opportunity Profile
  • Format: PDF
  • Qualifications and skills
  • Key market issues and trends
  • Trading, commercial and legal issues
  • Legislation
  • Further information

Independent mobile phone shops supply new, refurbished and used mobile phone handsets and SIM cards, along with a range of accessories, including handset cases, chargers and screen protectors. Some also stock top-up vouchers and international calling cards. Mobile phone retailers increasingly trade online as well as from high street premises.

New handsets are supplied with a mobile network contract or on a SIM-free basis, meaning they can be used with a SIM card from any network in the UK. Second-hand handsets are typically sold without a network contract, but may be 'locked' to a particular network. Some phone shops unlock second-hand phones before making them available for sale.

In order to supply contract mobile handsets and SIM cards, phone shop proprietors need to sign up to a partnership scheme with a network, or use a network-approved distributor or a fulfilment service.

Most mobile phone shops provide device unlocking and repairs and operate a 'trade in' or 'upgrade' service, accepting customers' old handsets in exchange for cash or discounts on a new phone or contract. Phone repair and unlocking is covered separately in MBP402, Smartphone and Tablet Repair Service.

This profile provides information about starting up and running an independent mobile phone shop. It describes the skills required, the training available, the current market trends and the key trading issues. It also explains the legislation that must be complied with and provides sources of further information and support.

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