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Sainsbury's launches cheap pre-pay mobile network to take on Tesco Mobile

Sainsbury's is hustling to keep pace with bitter rival Tesco, announcing a new low-cost mobile network intended to go toe-to-toe with Tesco Moble.

Mobile by Sainsbury's is being established in partnership with Vodafone and will concentrate on affordable pre-pay packages that it hopes will appeal to families.

The network features three basic bundles: £10 a month gets you 200 minutes, and 250MB of data, £15 ups the game to 300 minutes and 500GB of data, while £20 gets you 800 minutes and 1GB of data. All packages come with unlimited texts.

A range of devices will offered, starting at just £12 for the Nokia 100 and going up to £115 for the Nokia Lumia 520 or £109 for the Samsung Galaxy Fame. As part of the initiative, Sainsbury's will also be trialling in-store phone shops at six of its locations.

"We know that many customers find choosing a mobile phone network a bit stressful, so we've opted to not only keep our price plans as affordable as possible - we've also made it incredibly simple. With our pay as you go service, customers know exactly what they're getting and how much they're spending - which means no nasty surprises at the end of the month," commented Emma McLaughlin, Mobile by Sainsbury's marketing director.

Mobile by Sainsbury's will link up with users' Nectar cards to add to loyalty rewards, and the supermarket chain says that shoppers opting to switching to the network could end up nearly £200 better off.

McLaughlin added: "The average UK family is feeling the pinch, and this is an easy way to make your pound stretch further. 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. Or you could use the points to treat yourself and your partner to a relaxing spa day."

An über-basic plan is also available where users only pay for what they use - 8p a minute for calls, 4p per text, and 50p for 25MB of data per day.

Mobile by Sainsbury's will also offer a 'borrow a pound' scheme, whereby users can get £1 worth of credit on tick if they run out but can't top up immediately.