Tesco has revealed that its most popular phone over the Christmas period was a little known model from an obscure manufacturer that costs only £18.99 and is being marketed by the supermarket giant as being a disposable model.
More than 10,000 such VX1i Party phones have been sold in the last two weeks of December 2009 as mobile phone users leave their expensive iPhones and Blackberries at home and take a less expensive handset to their party nights.
Users have to keep their own SIM - it is unlocked - and can therefore use their own number. We tried to get hold of VX1i Party but couldn't find any website or even a description on Tesco Mobile's website.
Lance Batchelor, chief executive for Tesco Telecoms and Tesco Mobile, said in a statement that "Our handset was developed as an affordable replacement, temporary phone or alternative to a more expensive phone, but its popularity really has taken us by surprise."
The phone is smaller than a credit card but slightly thicker. It has a talktime of up to 5 hours and standby time of 90 hours. Its main LCD backlight is white while the keypad backlight is a cool blue - very trendy in parties.
As one might expect, the phone is a little light on features and apart from the usual call forwarding, alarm and calculation functions, there's not much to play with. The phone can be purchased on Ebay for around £16.99.
The VX1i might be cheap but it is not the cheapest mobile phone in the UK. There are shedloads of them available for under £20, although truth be said, the VX1i has its advantages. It can be picked up from a supermarket's shelf, it is not network locked and looks gorgeous.