Vodafone is laying off 450 staff at its Newbury headquarters and employing more staff in shops to show customers how mobile phones work.
The operator said the HQ cuts had nothing to do with current economic conditions, and that it would not be closing any of the buildings on the Newbury campus. Rather, it is all about "simplifying its operating model" by getting customers to use the trickier services it is pushing.
The addition of 330 "retail advisors" reflects how operators now see their customers - as punters crying out for premium data services but lacking the knowledge of how to use them. The vast majority of phones are still being used mostly to make phone calls, a service which is a lot less profitable than it used to be, and talking a punter though downloading a Madonna track makes it much more likely they'll use their phone for downloading in future.
Another 130 staff are being recruited to help businesses understand how to use their mobiles.
Anyone who's experienced Vodafone's billing systems lately will be pleased to hear that another 30 bodies are being recruited into "enhanced e-billing capability".
In all it's 450 out - around 10 per cent of the Newbury workforce, though apparently 20 per cent of the senior management are for the chop - and 490 being recruited around the country into (lower-paid) roles showing punters how to access premium services... and making sure they get billed for them.
Once Voda's customers have learnt how to download the latest music those punters will be able to enjoy seven tracks from Madonna's latest album, Hard Candy, a week before the proles, at 99 pence a track, with one being released each day to count down to the general release.®