Supermarket chain Asda has kicked off a mobile phone price war by offering a prepaid phone 30 per cent cheaper than its nearest competition.
In a deal with Cellnet, the #69.99 device will be available shrinkwrapped in over 200 of its stores, a spokesperson for Asda told 'Newswire'. The phone will cost from only 11 pence per day (#40 per year) to run.
A free #10 voucher being given away with every phone brings the price down to eight pence per day. There is no contract to sign or monthly rental charge to pay.
The announcement came as a rumour leaked that the UK Treasury is planning to highlight the best mobile phone buys. UK mobile phone charges are among the highest in Europe. Oftel is also expected to investigate the mobile market as a whole in the new year, looking for evidence of overcharging and price collusion.
?We are launching the people?s phone,? said Asda?s trading director, Mike Coupe. ?I?m sure the Chancellor Gordon Brown will be delighted we are taking a stand on mobile phone charges.?
?Above all, our move will send a signal to the phone operators that it?s time to ring the changes."
Other mobile phone retailers have been quick to react. The Link has put out a Cellnet mobile phone package for #69.99 with prepay calls at 20p and #10 worth of free calls.
Carphone Warehouse told 'Newswire' it will match Asda?s offering with a Cellnet Easylife mobile phone for #69.99, dropped from #99.99, which will cost three pence per day to run. It will also include a #10 voucher and 365 days usage.
?There?s more to buying a phone than the cost of the handset,? commented Charles Dunstone, managing director of Carphone Warehouse. ?With prepay alone there are 14 different packages and it is essential that customers are given independent and impartial advice from expert advisers. This is something that supermarkets will never be able to offer."
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