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Orange leaves UK reseller in the red

Debt forces administration and layoffs

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Jem Telecom, a Leicestershire reseller specialising in BlackBerrys, has been forced into administration by an outstanding debt from Orange, apparently linked to the network operator's investigation into payments to their channel partners.

The company is just about continuing to trade, though it has been forced to lay off 13 staff and lost access to its offices for a day or two.

"We were deeply disappointed at having to place the company into administration," said Jason Theakston, chief executive of Jem in a statement, "but we were left with no alternative to protect the company and safeguard all of our creditors".

The company claims Orange owes it several hundred thousand pounds - enough, according to the administrators, to keep the company solvent and get it back into operations.

The problem seems to stem from an investigation into data leaking from the Orange extranet, but has led to Orange terminating relationships with more than 150 resellers for reasons that are far from clear.

When asked to comment, Orange replied that it had decided to no longer deal with many resellers, preferring to deal with customers directly. The company declined to comment when asked if this policy included refusing to pay money owed to existing resellers.®

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