Cellnet to quit Shell Smart

Cellnet is to resign from the Shell Smart card consortium. The two other remaining members – Allied Domecq and Next – are also understood to have resigned. The move leaves Shell as the only founding member still involved.

Officially, the mobile phone operator says it is “reviewing its options” but it is known to be angry that Shell did not keep it informed as both Ford and Sainsbury’s quit the scheme in the past two weeks.

But Cellnet insiders say the review – which covers investment implications and loyalty opportunities – will end with the company leaving the scheme.

At the same time, Lloyds TSB bank is emerging as the most likely candidate to join the consortium as the financial services partner. This may give the bank access to the Air Miles loyalty scheme, which at the moment has an exclusive contract with NatWest. Vodafone denies it will replace Cellnet.

News Analysis, page 1

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