Sainsbury's enters mobile phone market

24 July 2013

Sainsbury's has entered the mobile phone market with a service that it says could net a family of four up to £180 worth of Nectar points a year.

Mobile by Sainsbury's offers double Nectar points on Sainsbury's shopping and fuel to customers who purchase phone bundles.

The service uses Vodafone's network and is being launched with a range of Pay As You Go (PAYG) price bundles. A £10 bundle gets customers 200 minutes, unlimited texts and 250MB of data; the £15 bundle ups that to 300 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data; while the £20 bundle gets customers 800 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of data.

The supermarket says that if a family of four each switched to the £10 bundle, link their mobile numbers to the household Nectar card and spend the UK weekly average on food and fuel per week, they will earn back a the £180 in Nectar points.

"Sainsbury's has demonstrated that a family of four can eat five meals for just £20, so the £180 worth of Nectar points would feed a family across 45 meals a year," said Emma McLaughlin, marketing director of Mobile by Sainsbury's. "Or you could use the points to treat yourself and your partner to a relaxing spa day."

There is also a simple price plan, with calls at 8p per minute, 4p per text and a data price of 50p per day (for up to 25MB). It also offers double Nectar points on the value of top-ups.

Jonathan Leggett, mobile expert at, said the new service stacks up well against rival Tesco Mobile. "With £10 of credit going as far as 200 minutes, unlimited texts and 250 MB data, Sainsbury's appears to have put itself firmly in-line with Tesco Mobile.

"But while Tesco will only offer 1 point per pound next year when its triple points offer ends, Sainsbury's could gain ground on its rivals by offering 4 points per pound as standard. Anyone signing up to a Mobile by Sainsbury's bundle will also benefit from double Nectar points on Sainsbury's shopping and fuel.

As for the rest of the mobile market, Leggett says Sainsbury's falls short. A GiffGaff Sim-only deal, on a one-month rolling contract, offers 500 mins, unlimited texts and 1GB data, for example; while Orange's Sim-only deal comes with 500 mins, 500 texts and 100 MB of data for £10.

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