Vodafone buys Yes

Vodafone has bought a controlling stake in the Manchester-based business-to-business telecoms reseller Yes Telecom.

Yes started business in September 2000 as a reseller of Vodafone network services, Vodafone remains an important partner in its business, though Yes did launch its own small-scale business MVNO with T-Mobile some months ago.

The MVNO has not been a huge hit but it contributed to sales that have been growing dramatically, rising £26m to hit £40m in 2005.

Equally important, Yes has a good reputation among customers, winning Best Customer Service for two years running at the Mobile News awards. A year ago Vodafone audited Yes’s churn rate at just 8.6%.

Yes Telecom currently has around 110 staff, all of whom are expected to keep their jobs. Keith Curran, founder and MD, will certainly remain with the business.

“As far as I’m aware it will continue trading as Yes Telecom after the sale,” said Yes’s solicitor.

That was confirmed by Vodafone: “we’re going to be very arm’s length,” said a spokesperson. “We’re not looking to manage them or redirect them.”

Vodafone has been keen to get closer to key business subscribers, and it has been prepared to acquire service providers it regards as important in this strategy. It bought Singlepoint and Project Telecom in 2003, for instance.

A figure of £30m has been widely quoted, but Vodafone spokespeople described that as “way off the mark”.