Nearly 3,500 U.K. shopkeepers have stopped selling Vodafone top-up cards after the company issued a notice that it would implement a one percentage point cut next month--lowering the rate to 3.5 per cent, and bringing into question its profitability for small retailers.
Vodafone maintains that the cut is necessary to boost the marketing of it pre-pay services. But, in a climb down, Vodafone's head of channel partners, Nick Birtwistle, offered to not cut the commission rate again for two years. "It is part of a long-term strategy of investing in products and services and what we expect to see is that it will boost sales [for the small shops] overall."
Vodafone has already cut commission rates for retailers by three percentage points since it launched the top-up service in 2000.
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