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Mobile by Sainsbury’s will piggy-back off the Vodafone network

Sainsbury’s is following in the footsteps of Tesco and Asda with the launch of its own mobile network later this summer.

Mobile by Sainsbury’s will piggy-back off Vodafone’s network and will be run as 50/50 joint venture with the mobile operator. Customers will be able to accrue and redeem Nectar points on the service, which Sainsbury’s said would take “the stress” out of mobile-buying decisions.

“Our customers trust us to provide top-quality products and service at fair prices, and Mobile by Sainsbury’s feels like a natural extension of our brand as well as a great way to reward our customers,” said Luke Jensen, Sainsbury’s group development director.

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”We’re extremely pleased to be working with Vodafone and look forward to developing a range of mobile products and services that will take the stress out of purchasing decisions in a familiar environment, offering what’s right for them whatever their needs may be.”

Details on whether the network would provide pay-as-you-go or monthly contracts, 4G services, and which handsets it would offer, would be made available at launch later this summer, a Sainsbury’s spokesman said.

The joint venture will be led by management personnel from both Sainsbury’s and Vodafone, but it was also likely to create new jobs and have its own head office, the spokesman added.

Mobile by Sainsbury’s will be a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), a company that offers a branded network but does not own radio spectrum or infrastructure, and relies on a third party to carry its services. Other MVNOs in the UK include Virgin Mobile, Tesco Mobile and Asda Mobile.

Tesco Mobile launched in 2003 on O2’s network while Asda Mobile went live in 2007, using Vodafone’s network.