It has emerged that Mobile by Sainsbury’s currently has a shelf-life of fewer than three months. The supermarket juggernaut has quietly been banishing marketing materials from all of its 1000+ stores in preparation for the shocking shutdown. Current customers have only until 15th January next year to use up their existing credit and choose a new operator to port their number to.
According to an insider source, the reason for the sudden closure is a break-down in negotiations with their infrastructure provider, Vodafone. The network was always a joint-venture between the two companies and without any agreement between them, there is little option but to stop providing a service. At the moment it’s unclear whether Sainsbury’s approached any other providers to step in place of Vodafone to keep the network live. We’ve also not received comment on how financially successful it has been for Sainsbury’s as it might be assumed that they have been looking for a graceful exit strategy.
While there has been little warning to their customers, industry experts say that it’s not a surprising outcome. Vodafone have been reportedly looking to completely withdraw from providing services to piggybacking MVNOs such as Sainsbury’s and Talkmobile.
Sainsbury’s is the second biggest supermarket brand in the country and two of its arch-rivals, ASDA and Tesco are still running their virtual networks running on other carriers. It has to be said, that their offerings have seemed to be much more successful too. While Sainsbury’s will no longer be marketing their network in stores, several of their retail outlets will still be selling mobile phones and accessories.
If you’re an existing customer of the network, you should start thinking about changing to a new network, requesting a PAC and porting your phone number over. No services at all will be available from 15 January 2016.
Did you see this coming? Are you a Mobile by Sainsbury’s customer and if so, what’s your reaction? Do you think Sainsbury’s are acting fairly? And how many of you expecting this coming? Should Sainsbury’s have done anything differently after negotiations with Vodafone broke down?