Tesco Mobile Joins 4G Price War

Tesco Mobile has announced that their customers can upgrade to 4G for less than the price of a cup of coffee, throwing down a clear gauntlet in the 4G mobile price war.  For just £2.50 per month, Tesco Mobile customers on any of their pay-monthly and sim-only tariffs can now upgrade to super-fast 4G connectivity.

Tesco Mobile 4GTesco Mobile is a virtual mobile operator, which uses the O2 network as its carrier, and is the first virtual operator to offer 4G. This means that in reality the offer of low cost 4G is limited to the areas where O2 has already rolled out its 4G coverage. 4G from O2 is currently available in London, Leeds, Bradford, Nottingham, Sheffield, Birmingham, Leicester, and Coventry. Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and Glasgow should all have the service by the end of the year.

What Is Tesco Mobile Offering?  

Customers who live in areas with O2 4G coverage can upgrade to 4G for just £2.50 per month, which Tesco Mobile has advertised as less than the cost of a cup of coffee based on a Costa Cappuccino at £2.65. This is a flexible option and customer can add or remove 4G whenever they want, only paying for it when they actually want to use it.

“As Tesco Mobile launches 4G we’re bringing it to all our customers at a great value price and if it’s not for them, they can switch back to 3G or adjust their 4G data allowance to suit their needs whenever they like.” Simon Groves, Chief Marketing Officer, Tesco Mobile and Tesco Telecoms.

Tesco Mobile is offering a range of data bundles which include 500MB for light mobile internet use, 1-2GB for low mobile internet use, 3-4GB for moderate internet use, and 5-8GB for high mobile internet use. Their website provides typical usage profiles to help customers decide how much data they need. While they say 500MB is sufficient for a light user who just sends e-mails and checks the internet occasionally, 5-8GB is more appropriate for a high user who uses their phone as a Sat Nav, steams videos and catch up TV, uploads and downloads large files, and enjoys online gaming.

The cheapest Tesco Mobile 4G tariffs that include a handset cost £17.50 per month on a 24 month contract. This includes 250 voice minutes, 5000 texts, 500MB data and either a Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 or a Nokia Lumia 920.

An Answer to EE Price Cuts?

The news from Tesco Mobile came quickly after a similar announcement from EE, who are currently the UK’s largest 4G provider. While they have had a monopoly on 4G in the UK they have been seen as a relatively expensive provider, but now they are starting to get some competition from other providers, they are looking at more affordable plans.

EE have announced they will be launching a new 4G price plan for £18.99 a month; a significant decrease from their current cheapest tariff which is £26. The new price plan will include 1000 voice minutes, unlimited texts, 500MB data and a handset, when customers sign up to a 24 month contract.

As O2 and Vodafone continue to roll out their networks across the UK, and Three prepares to launch its network in the coming weeks, it is likely that there will be a number of similar announcements as the networks compete to attract customers.