Mobile by Sainsbury’s is a joint venture between the British supermarket Sainsbury’s (surprise!) and the mobile network Vodafone. It was first announced in 2013 and eventually went live on the 24th of July that year.
It joins competing supermarkets Tesco and ASDA in offering a mobile phone service although it came several years later. Mobile by Sainsbury’s aims to use its strong brand as well as its marketing nous to carve out a niche for itself in an already-crowded mobile phone provider market.
It uses Vodafone as its parent carrier and is offering both a basic PAYG service as well as rolling 30-day bundles. In addition, Mobile by Sainsbury’s will be offering Nectar reward card points for its customers as well as selling mobile handsets too.
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Mobile by Sainsbury’s review
Mobile by Sainsbury’s claims to have very competitive price plans and compared with the offerings from its supermarket rivals Tesco and ASDA, the deals certainly seem quite reasonable. In fact, Sainsbury’s tariff is one of the best value PAYG deals available with calls costing only :sainsburys:/minute and texts coming in at 4p each.
When you look at Vodafone’s own PAYG rates which are about three times as expensive at 30p for calls and 14p for texts, it becomes lucidly clear how much can be saved. For these lower prices you’ll still be getting exactly the same service as on Vodafone’s regular network. You get the same call quality and coverage for both 2G and 3G.
Sainsbury’s have heavily pushed their Nectar points rewards as a major selling point. For example, every time you spend money on a top-up your get double Nectar points effectively meaning you get the value of 2% back. If you buy one of their bundles, you also get double Nectar points on Sainsbury’s shopping and fuel station purchases. Sainsbury’s claim that this could save some families about £180 over the course of a year.
There certainly are cheaper options available, but compared to the major networks, Mobile by Sainsbury’s can save you a lot of money. As they are backed by such an established brand you should be confident about the customer support and the quality of the service. And there will always be a Sainsbury’s shop nearby if you need to top-up.
At a glance
Mobile by Sainsbury’s has pretty decent base rates on its PAYG tariff and they are more or less comparable to those offered by ASDA Mobile and Tesco Mobile. Starting off with call prices, all UK calls to mobiles and landlines are 8p at all times which is definitely good value. SMS text messages are very cheap too costing only 4p each.
Voicemail is also reasonable at just 8p per call no matter how long it lasts. We’re happy to see than both 0870 and 0800 numbers cost just 8p/minute too. And MMS picture messages are pretty reasonable at 25p each.
However, not everything is good news. The data pricing is pretty poor at 50p per day but with a limit of only 25MB. While this is only 2p/MB which is pretty good for PAYG, the fact that there’s a 50p minimum makes it a bad choice for low-volume users. And the fact there’s no discount for bulk data means that it’s no good for heavy data users either.
In addition to their basic tariff, Mobile by Sainsbury’s also offer various bundles ranging between £10-£20 for 30 days of usage. All come with unlimited texts as well as a varying amount of UK minutes and included mobile internet usage.
For £10 you get 200 included minutes as well as 250MB of mobile data. £15 gives you 300 minutes and 500MB of data instead along with the unlimited texts. And if you pay for the £20 bundle, you get 30 days to make up to 800 minutes of outgoing calls as well as a more reasonable 1GB mobile internet allowance. All the bundles also come with double Nectar points in store and on fuel for the life of the bundle as long as you link your Nectar card. While these bundles all offer great value compared to the standard PAYG prices, if you look at other networks offering rolling bundles there are much better deals to be had elsewhere.
Unfortunately there’s also a big catch if you choose to go for the bundles. Once you’ve used up your allowances, the call price massively increases to 20p/minute. This means that you need to be really careful not only to not go outside your allotted amounts but to be sure that you choose a bundle that will last you for the full 30 days. It might be a good idea to build in a small buffer to avoid these excessive overage charges.
If you have a BlackBerry, Mobile by Sainsbury’s will also charge you £5 for a 30 day pass allowing you to use BlackBerry Internet Services such as BBM and email.
To help you compare Mobile by Sainsbury’s latest pricing with that of all the other providers, we’ve prepared a comprehensive comparison table.
Mobile by Sainsbury’s runs on the Vodafone network. Please head over to the Mobile by Sainsbury’s coverage page to learn the network coverage in your area. For more information, check out our coverage comparison table.
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