Home  ›  Mobile SIM-only reviews  ›  Mobile by Sainsburys  ›  Pay-as-you-go

Mobile by Sainsbury’s pay-as-you-go review

Sainsbury's no longer operates as a mobile provider. New customers seeking a cheap SIM-only deal may wish to consider Asda Mobile instead.

But does over a century of selling fresh fruit and veg give much insight into what PAYG mobile customers want? We’ve peeled back the layers and squeezed Sainsbury’s for information on its PAYG contracts. Here’s what we think.

Cable.co.uk overall rating
2.6

Mobile by Sainsbury’s is ideal for those that make the occasional call, are just getting into texting and like saving Nectar points. Data is extortionate outside of bundles and handset choice is limited.

See top rated mobile

Coverage & data speed

Rating

2

Mobile by Sainsbury’s is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), which means it doesn’t own its own network of masts but rents space off a mobile network provider – in this case, Vodafone.

This means a Mobile by Sainsbury’s customer receives roughly the same mobile coverage and data speed as a Vodafone customer.

Vodafone’s 3G coverage currently covers 96% of UK premises, with an average 3G data speed of 7Mbps according to the most recent Ofcom research.

Mobile by Sainsbury’s does not offer 4G. This is disappointing for anyone who likes speedy browsing on their phone, but might not be a such a problem when you consider how much Mobile by Sainsbury’s charge for data.

3G coverage
96%
4G coverage
-
Average 3G speed*
7Mbps
Average 4G speed*
-
Call allowance
Bundles 8p per minute
Text allowance
Bundles 4p per text
Data allowance
Bundles 5p per 1MB
PAYG handsets
Yes
Ofcom statistics for the Vodafone network, which Mobile by Sainsbury’s uses to operate its services. Mobile by Sainsbury’s coverage and speed may vary.
Prices from
3G coverage 96%
4G coverage -
Average 3G speed* 7Mbps
Average 4G speed* -
Call allowance Bundles 8p per minute
Text allowance Bundles 4p per text
Data allowance Bundles 5p per 1MB
PAYG handsets Yes
Prices from Free
Ofcom statistics for the Vodafone network, which Mobile by Sainsbury’s uses to operate its services. Mobile by Sainsbury’s coverage and speed may vary.
Info

Scroll horizontally for more information.

Data usage

Rating

2

You can top up your phone with one-off amounts, or buy a bundle. Bundles give you a set amount of data, texts and minutes for a set price and last for 30 days.

You can set this as a rolling bundle, which will automatically top up your phone every 30 days, similarly to a 12-month or 24-month pay monthly contract. This is the most financially efficient way to get data with Mobile by Sainsbury’s PAYG.

If you go without a bundle you’ll be charged 5p for every MB used. To put that into context, using one GB of data will set you back £50 – a terrifying amount, especially if you’re used to streaming music or watching HD YouTube videos on your phone.

Calls & texts

Rating

4

Calls cost 8p per minute, and a single text will set you back 4p, which is pretty cheap when compared to other providers.

A minutes and texts allowance is included in bundles, which, along with your data allowance, remains the most economical way to make calls and send texts.

Frequent visitors to the continent will be encouraged to hear that Mobile by Sainsbury’s does not charge for roaming in over 30 European countries.

Extra features

Rating

2

Mobile by Sainsbury’s is a budget mobile provider, so there’s very little to shout about with regards to extras. However, if you’re an avid collector of Nectar points there are a few things you can do to increase your yield.

If you choose a PAYG data, minutes and texts bundle, you will receive double Nectar points on any shopping you do or any fuel you buy for 30 days.

You’ll also receive double Nectar points when you top up your account, and you can also link other Mobile by Sainsbury’s accounts to your Nectar card, multiplying the amount of bonus points you get.

Mobile by Sainsbury’s will also let you borrow a pound if you’ve run out of credit and need to make an emergency call; although you have to pay it back when you next top up.

Value for money

Rating

3

Mobile by Sainsbury’s PAYG handsets all sit on the cheaper end of the spectrum, and its calls and text rates are some of the cheapest we’ve seen from a PAYG provider.

Ultimately though, how much value you eke out of a Mobile by Sainsbury’s PAYG contract will depend on how you use your phone. If you have even a mild appetite for mobile data, you'll find that you have to top up a lot, unless you choose a bundle.

This lessens the cost somewhat, and lessens it further still if you choose a rolling contract, but if you do this, you may as well sign up to a pay monthly contract.

If you are only planning on making calls and sending texts, you’ll find great value here, especially if you’ve got a Nectar card.

Overall Rating

2.6

The only feasible way to make Mobile by Sainsbury’s work is to sign up to a rolling bundle. But if you’re going to do that, you may as well look at a pay monthly contract.

Mobile by Sainsbury’s PAYG tariffs are ideal if you want a cheap and simple way to make calls, send texts and keep a tight leash on your spending. They are not so good if you use a lot of data and want a top-end handset.

Compare SIM-only

Leave your comment

We will never share your email address and it will not be displayed.

Your name
Notify me of replies by email

Why do we need your postcode?

Once you enter your postcode, Cable.co.uk will perform a live lookup and check all the available providers in your area.

This ensures you receive accurate information on the availability of providers and packages in your area.

Your information is safe with us. We won't share your postcode with anyone. Guaranteed.

Close