What’s a mobile phone reseller?

Mobile phone reseller icon

One of the best ways to get a cheap mobile deal is to go through a reseller. But what are they? Broadbandchoices takes a look.

When you're getting a new phone contract, your first port of call is usually to browse deals on a comparison website, like our mobile site. When you click on a deal that looks good, you'll be sent in one of two directions: either to a mobile network (like Vodafone or Three), or to a reseller (like BuyMobiles.net). So what's the difference? And are these reseller thingies any good?

What is a reseller?

Resellers operate by purchasing new handsets in bulk at wholesale prices, or by acquiring refurbished models that have been brought back to pristine condition. By leveraging these cost efficiencies, resellers can often offer mobile phones with a network contract at more competitive prices, passing on the savings to customers.

Deals from resellers

Our mobile site is teeming with offers and deals, and it's a great place to start your search for a new phone. By exploring, you can find a plethora of reseller deals on the handset of your choice, often with tempting price tags that seem too good to ignore.

Carphone Warehouse

A household name in the UK, Carphone Warehouse brings the advantage of a physical presence with stores peppered across the country. Founded in 1989, with headquarters still in London, it's now owned by Currys PLC.


As the UK's oldest online mobile shop, Mobiles.co.uk, part of the Carphone Warehouse group, has been in the game since 1995. Operating exclusively online from Loughborough, they've managed to carve out a significant presence in the market and have also been recognized as 'best online retailer', testifying to their commitment to customer satisfaction.

Isn't it better to go directly to a network?

It's a common misconception that going through a reseller might be a compromise in quality or service. However, when you take out a mobile phone contract on a particular network through a reseller, you're getting service from that network - it's a real contract that it will abide to, exactly the same as if you'd gone and got a deal directly. That includes customer service and all the same perks the network offers.

For example, let's say you got an iPhone 15 on O2 through a reseller. You'll get a fancy deal at a cheaper price than if you'd gone directly to O2, but still with O2's coverage and service, and access to O2 Priority, O2 Refresh, and O2 Wi-Fi hotspots. If you have problems with your service, O2 will sort it out; while if there's a technical issue with the handset, you'd need to contact either the reseller or the phone's manufacturer.

The handset you'll get will come from a batch that the reseller bought wholesale, or it'll be a refurbished one that has been thoroughly tested. In other words, the phone is either identical to the one you'd get straight from the network, or it's gone through an extra round of checks and is literally as good as new.

What's good about resellers?

The allure of resellers isn't just in their ability to undercut the competition. Their benefits extend further:

  • Cheaper deals: They often provide more wallet-friendly options than what's available directly from the networks
  • Incentives: Many reseller contracts come with attractive extras such as cashback offers or free gifts
  • Network benefits: Despite the lower costs, customers still enjoy the full suite of network benefits, including coverage and priority services
  • Diverse range: Resellers offer a wide variety of deals across various networks, giving customers more freedom to choose

What's bad about resellers?

However, it's not all sunshine and roses. There are some potential drawbacks to consider:

  • Intermediary hassles: Dealing with a third party can sometimes introduce additional complexity and confusion, especially if issues arise
  • Network discounts: Resellers may not have access to certain network-specific promotions or loyalty upgrades that are reserved for direct customers
  • Physical presence: Unlike major networks, many resellers lack a significant brick-and-mortar presence, which can be a downside for those who prefer in-person service

In the dynamic world of mobile phones, the choice between going with a network or a reseller is not black and white. As we've explored, resellers offer a compelling proposition that combines the same network services with additional financial benefits. Whether you're tempted by the savings or reassured by the familiar, it's clear that resellers are a legitimate and often savvy option for consumers looking to get the most bang for their buck in the mobile marketplace.

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