Sainsbury’s Mobile to close in January

  • By Shazad Arafat


With supermarkets in general hitting financial difficulties in the UK over the last few years it will not come as much as a surprise that Sainsbury’s has announced it will close it’s mobile phone network after just over two years, in January 2016.

The supermarket will be pulling the plug on “Mobile by Sainsbury’s” following a breakdown in talks with Vodafone, who provided the physical infrastructure that enabled Sainsbury’s to operate as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).

There is speculation that is Vodafone is looking to pull out of the MVNO market entirely, presumably as it wants to encourage customers to join its own main network.

The network will eventually go dark on the 15th January, giving customers just over 90 days to find a new provider, customers will be able to use their PAC codes to enable them to transfer their existing phone number to a new network of their choice.

This is the second time that Sainsbury’s has closed a MVNO, way back in 2001 it launched and subsequently closed two years later the “Sainsbury’s One” network it launched to compete with Tesco and ASDA’s mobile offerings.

The problem with a Virtual Network is that few people actually know who’s network they are really using:

Tesco use O2
Asda is EE
Lebara is Vodafone
Co-op is EE
In fact if you are using a small provider in the UK check to see if they are an MVNO, as most are, mainly using Vodafone, EE or O2 with a small number using THREE’s infrastructure. The same applies to providers of mobile internet and mobile wifi devices and services.