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Is Mobile by Sainsbury’s any good?

Monday, September 8th 2014

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 repriced 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.

 £10£12.50£15
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 →

Comments (112)

Phill
11th January 2015

99% coverage? No chance, no one has 99% coverage, not even close

Nadia
3rd January 2015

Worst provider I have come across having topped up and bought a bundle I have no internet connection. Have emailed twice have had no reply. 25p per minute to talk to customer services. Very bad service, rude staff and still NO INTERNET!

Micky
17th October 2014

I read that if the SIM isn't used to make a chargeable call within 180 days then it will be disconnected from the network. Does this also apply if the SIM isn't topped up with credit at least once within 360 days from the start of the contract?

16th October 2014

Hi Frank, I'm afraid we can't help with specific account queries like this so try calling the Mobile by Sainsbury's helpline on 033 33 048 047. Kind regards, Hannah

Frank
16th October 2014

I ported my number from Vodafone yesterday now I can't use any of my mobiles whats happening?

Graham Coxon
26th September 2014

Like mr Palmer I had a similar problem, I put £10 on my PAYG sim in store but no credit appeared, on checking customer service i was informed that my top up card was not registered apparently a common mistake when you by a new phone or sim card in store, this was rectified over the phone and in minutes my credit appeared, no further problems.

Karen
26th September 2014

We were with Asda but when they changed to EE we were unable to get a signal and make calls inside the house. So we changed to Sainsburys because we knew they were using the Vodafone network which works in our area SN2. We are low pay as you go users. The changeover on both our phones went very smoothly. We are very pleased.

A Palmer
13th September 2014

MOBILE BY SAINSBURYS SCREWED UP OUR CELL NOS !!!!! NOW WE CANNOT MOVE THEM TO ANOTHER NETWORK

My wife and I moved to Sainsburys Mobile in October 2013 at first we were pleased with the service, then in April 2014 we both started to have problems sending SMS messages spasmodically. We have contumely tried to resolve this problem ever since April of this year.

Some of your customer care people are obnoxious and damn right rude, they could not care less, they don,t know how to resolve the problems and just fob you off. Operators have said the sim card is faulty we will send out a new one, they NEVER DID.

They connect you to other no's to resolve the problems mostly a waste of time. Recently we were lucky to make contact with WILFF, he is the only person who has truly tried to resolve the problem.

There is a serious problem with our account , money is disappearing and reappearing, sometimes.

I was told to get a new NANO sim and change the no over to this new SIM, YOUR PEOPLE SAY THEY CANNOT and transfer you to a new guy who has no idea. They eventually tell me, The original sim is INACTIVE, ????? Then why can i call with it ---------------

SO so fed up with Sainsburys lousy service I try to move to another network I CANNOT as the sim is not recognised.

My Wife s card ------------- has been giving the message YOU HAVE NO CREDIT, check on the web site it says NO CREDIT after two weeks suddenly it now shows £17-- credit ?????? yet she had over £18 in credit, she bought £10 more credit in store, NO CREDIT ARRIVED ON THE PHONE, call and complain, she's told this card was never linked to the phone no!!!!! she has applied credit to this card in store many times to get Petrol discount.

Bundles on my phone disappear when they have not expired, neither accounts will show THE LAST SIX TRANSACTIONS.

I have no alternative now other than to sue Sainsburys as I have to get new NO,S reprint business stationery and go to a great deal of expense informing clients world wide of your screw up and the necessity of getting a new no We have had these consecutive no's for years, easy to remember etc and now Sainsburys have screwed both of them up.

In an attempt to resolve this problem today I drove 80 miles to get hold of a NANO SIM CARD What a waste of time and money But this has been the entire exercise with Mobile by Sainsburys I have spent HOURS AND HOURS TRYING TO GET THEM TO WORK< CHANGING SETTINGS PHONES WHEN ALL ALONG ITS THE ACCOUNT WITH YOU.

My Wife spent £800- £1000 a month with Sainsburys for over £40 years starting i St Loyes Bedford,, thank goodness Waitrose and Morrisons have opened in BEDFORD thats her weekly shop NOW and fuel from TESCO. I dont expect to see you doing anything about this complaint but you will see the extensive Blogging my IT will apply to this and then a County court writ for breach of contract, damages and costs

chris
8th September 2014

Very good network with a UK based call centre. the bundles are very good value compared to the rest. they only need to improve the data to make it 4 to 5gb.

A Palmer
29th August 2014

My wife & I have mobile by sainsburys its useless We have two Iphone 4s & an Iphone 5s Neither will send texts. We have called customer services many time reset phones checked & re input Cellular data ITS STILL USELESS DON'T GO THERE STAY WITH VODAFONE

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