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Friday, 20 October, 2000, 17:11 GMT 18:11 UK
Tesco to offer mobile phone service
Tesco website
Tesco's online shopping could become m-commerce
The UK's biggest supermarket operator, Tesco, says it will launch its own mobile phone service in the New Year.


We have been able to negotiate one of the best deals on airtime - savings we will pass on to our customers

Terry Leahy
Tesco
The pay-as-you-go service will compete head-to-head with existing operators such as Vodafone, Orange and BT Cellnet.

Tesco says it promises to be cheaper than rival packages.

A spokesman said the announcement followed talks between Tesco and "a major network provider".

The store chain is paying an undisclosed sum for unlimited access to the partner firm's mobile network.

Special offers

Tesco says it plans to introduce text-messaging services offering information on its latest special offers direct to users' mobile phones.

It also has plans for news, weather and stock market information at the touch of a button.

Tesco chief executive Terry Leahy said: "This is not a rebadging exercise.

"We have been able to negotiate one of the best deals on airtime - savings we will pass on to our customers."

Sainsbury's

On Wednesday, Sainsbury's said it would be launching a mobile phone service offering customers the lowest rates in the country.

The service - called Sainsbury's One - will use a specially developed billing system which checks customers' calls against standard tariffs offered by the UK's four existing mobile networks and charges them the lowest price available.

It will be operated in partnership with BT Cellnet and marketing firm Mosaic Group and be available to Sainsbury's Reward Card holders from next January.

"This is the biggest shake-up the UK's mobile phone market has ever seen," said marketing director Sara Weller.

Reward card refunds

"Sainsbury's One will put an end to customers having to plough through huge amounts of information on the many different tariffs available and will guarantee the best deals in the UK."

Pre-pay customers will be able to buy Sainsbury's One vouchers from Sainsbury's stores and will receive quarterly statements.

These will show how much they would have paid for their calls if they had used pre-paid services offered by each of the main four UK networks.

"If any of the competitor services would have charged a lower rate, customers will be refunded the difference to their Reward Card account," Sainsbury's said.

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See also:

02 Oct 00 | Business
Tesco restarts price war
10 Oct 00 | Business
Competition Commission: Key findings
14 Aug 00 | Business
Sainsbury's to sell cars
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