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Monday, 1 January, 2001, 00:33 GMT
Superstore joins mobile phone war
Mobile phone  caller
Sainsbury's promises cheap mobile phone calls
Supermarket giant Sainsbury's is to join the mobile phone price war by offering low tariffs.

The store's 12 million Reward loyalty card holders will be able to benefit from Sainsbury's One, which will be operated over the BT Cellnet network.

Charges for each call will be chosen from the cheapest tariff available on four UK mobile networks, including Vodafone, One2One and Orange following Wednesday's launch.

Bills will contain details of how much the call would cost with each network, with Sainsbury's customers charged at the cheapest rate.

Sainsbury's believes the service will appeal to mobile phone users who are unsure about whether they are on the right tariff.

A spokesman said: "This will put an end to customers having to plough through huge amounts of information on the many different tariffs available."

The launch of the service from Sainsbury's looks certain to fuel the already competitive mobile phone sector.

Mobile phone
Sainsbury's move could fuel mobile phone war

Within days of the group announcing its plans for Sainsbury's One in October, rival group Tesco said it would launch its own mobile phone service, utilising the Vodafone network.

Almost two-in-three of the UK population was believed to own a mobile phone following the Christmas rush.

The popularity of mobile phones as Christmas presents took the number of Britons owning handsets to about 40 million, according to a survey by NOP Research Group.

One in 10 shoppers questioned said they were planning to give a handset to a friend or relative for Christmas.

January sales boost

The January sales are set to boost the growth in the UK's mobile-owning population.

About one-in-six mobile phones given as presents in the UK this year were of the new-style Wap variety, which allows users to surf the internet from their handsets.

But the youth market is proving one of the fastest growing, with one third of Christmas shoppers purchasing mobile phone saying they were buying them as presents for children aged under 14.

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See also:

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