Nice guy Charles Dunstone on a BT mission


Carphone Warehouse has an odd name for a company that doesn’t sell car phones and isn’t a warehouse.  It is Europe’s biggest mobile phone retailer whose founder Charles Dunestone is on a mission to become the telecoms alternative to BT.

Today Dunstone took the challenge direct to the heart of BT by announcing free broadband access forever for customers of his Talk Talk service.  It is a move that will undoubtedly change the landscape for all other broadband providers such as NTL and AOL.

Dunstone is the minnow in the pack but few will bet against his succeeding given the way he has built the company from scratch into a £2 billion business with 1,400 stores in 10 countries.

Not bad for a 42 year old who gave up the opportunity of going to Liverpool University in favour of going to work, first at a computer computer in Cambridge and then for NEC, the Japanese telecoms giant where he spotted the opportunity for selling mobile telephones.

He started by selling them by advertising in magazines and then he opened his first shop.  The network grew rapidly as he hired people from Tesco and Waitrose to introduce a new type of marketing techniques for mobile phones.

As BT has been gradually forced to loosen its hold on telephone landlines, Dunstone was quick off the mark to step in with his Talk Talk service.  The free broadband service is the latest stage in this strategy.  It is aimed directly at home computer users which are predicted to grow to around 20 million inBritain within the next few years.

Dunstone is not the typical entrepreneur and outside of business keeps a low profile.  Few will argue that his ‘nice guy’ reputation is not justified.  He enjoys public speaking, is closely involved in the work of The Prince’s Trust and is yachting mad.

Thanks for reading Big Business

David Davis



2 Responses to “Nice guy Charles Dunstone on a BT mission”

  1. Alex Jamieson Says:

    Mr Dunstone should try calling his ” Help ” numbers ” given on his customers telephone accounts. Tell him to phone his customer service number on 0870 444 1820 and hopefully he’ll have to wait for over 50 minutes like I did before hanging up.
    Also tell him to send an E Mail to his Customer help department ( who promise a reply within 48 hours ) but no reply ever comes.
    He may be a “good guy ” as you say but surely it’s the staff who make the business run properly and in my opinion – they’re crap !

    Alex Jamieson
    Tel 01875 870312 ( and I’ll answer )

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