Sainsbury's to part ways with Vodafone over joint mobile venture
Mobile by Saisnbury's, a joint MVNO owned 50:50 by both Sainsbury's and Vodafone is set to end on 15th January 2016.
Vodafone and Sainsbury's have worked together on the network since 2013 with the aim of taking on Tesco Mobile for the competitively priced consumer market.
After a breakdown in talks between the UK mobile network operator and supermarket chain it has been speculated that Vodafone are looking to pull out of the MVNO market completely - in an attempt to encourage customers to join it's own customer base although Vodafone strongly refute these accusations.
A Sainsbury's have stated that, "We regret that Mobile by Sainsbury’s, a joint venture with Vodafone offering a mobile phone service to Sainsbury’s customers, is ending, and the service will no longer be available from 15 January 2016."
They also added, "Our priority now is to help our customers and make sure they are inconvenienced as little as possible. We will continue to sell mobile phones and accessories in our 38 in-store phone shops and to sell handsets in over 300 of our stores."
Vodafone have also commented on the split saying, "We regret that Mobile by Sainsbury’s - a joint venture between Sainsbury’s and Vodafone UK - offering a mobile phone service to Sainsbury’s customers is ending and the service will no longer be available from 15 January 2016. Mobile by Sainsbury’s priority now is to help its customers and make sure they are inconvenienced as little as possible."
Sainbury's apear to be tryin to inconvenience their customers by letting them know early that as of 15th January 2016 their services will cease, they are also giving customers their PAC codes so that customers can transfer their numbers to other networks.
Interestingly this isn't the first time that Sainsbury's has closed as a MVNO. Back in 2001 they launched their 'Sainsbury's One' network which was shut down almost two years later.