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Is Mobile by Sainsbury’s any good?

Hannah Ricci
Friday, May 1st 2015

Sainsbury’s is the most recent supermarket to join the mobile phone ranks, offering a small selection of pay-as-you-go (PAYG) deals aimed primarily at families. The provider offers a choice of call, text and data bundles starting at just £10, as well as bonus Nectar points for cardholders.

So Mobile by Sainsbury’s ticks the affordability box but how does it compare on other key issues? Let’s find out in our independent review of the new addition to the UK mobile market.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Good coverage
  • Earn Nectar points
  • Good value bundles

Cons

  • Fair usage policy on texts
  • No pay monthly deals
  • No track record

What we like

Good coverage

By utilising Vodafone’s mobile network infrastructure, Mobile by Sainsbury’s enjoys 99% network coverage across the UK, plus more than 200 countries worldwide. However, that’s where the relationship with Vodafone ends, because Mobile by Sainsbury’s is not linked to Vodafone’s new superfast 4G network.

Earn Nectar points

Customers can collect double Nectar points when buying phone top ups, equal to four points per £1 spent. Bundle customers also receive double points on Sainsbury’s shopping and fuel for the 30-day life of the bundle, although certain products and services are excluded in the terms and conditions.

You’ll just need to link your Nectar card to your mobile account when you sign up. Points can take up to up to 30 days to be added and you’ll receive text updates of your balance. Up to 10 mobiles can be added to one Nectar card, so there’s the potential to build up a sizeable stack of points if you get all of your family involved.

Good value bundles

Mobile by Sainsbury’s has re-priced its three 30-day pre-pay bundles recently to make them better value for money and put itself on a par with the likes of Virgin Mobile and Three. If you’ve used up all of your credit, you can also ‘borrow’ £1 from the provider to make a quick call or send a couple of texts until you buy your next bundle. This is handy if you’re in a fix and perhaps don’t have the funds to top-up until payday. You’ll be charged 10p for the privilege, which will be deducted from your next top-up.

 £8£10£11
Minutes300500800
TextsUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Data500MB1GB2GB
£10
Minutes
300
Texts
Unlimited
Data
500MB
£12.50
Minutes
500
Texts
Unlimited
Data
1GB
£15
Minutes
800
Texts
Unlimited
Data
2GB

Visit Mobile by Sainsbury →

What we don’t like

Fair usage policy on texts

Despite claiming to offer unlimited texts on all bundles, this isn’t quite the case. There's a cap of 5,000 per 30-day bundle in the fair use policy. That sounds like a lot, but frequent texters could blow through this limit fairly easily.

No pay-monthly deals

Mobile by Sainsbury’s only offers pay-as-you-go tariffs (with a phone or SIM-only), and no pay monthly deals. This move makes it a pricey option if you need a new handset and fancy a swanky smartphone, as there’s no subsidy and you’ll need to fork out the full cost outright.

No track record

Sainsbury’s has a solid reputation for its supermarket and financial services provisions, but there’s little to go on in the way of telecommunications here. There’s no mobile customer service record for the phone service so new customers are expected to take a leap of faith.

Coverage

Click the button below to see if you can get Mobile by Sainsbury’s in your area.

Check coverage →

Conclusion

Mobile by Sainsbury’s seems to measure up to its goal, offering straightforward and affordable phone plans with no lengthy contracts. The bonus Nectar points will attract families who regularly shop at the supermarket, and the broad UK coverage means you can expect a pretty good signal wherever you are.

Visit Mobile by Sainsbury →

Check your coverage

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