The new network promises ‘honest pricing’ for customers.
The Co-operative Group has launched its first own-brand pay as you go (PAYG) SIM card, offering low-cost national and international rates starting from as little as 4p a minute for calls.
The Co-operative Mobile PAYG SIM will be available in more than 3,800 of its supermarket stores across the UK from later this month starting at just £0.99.
Customers can keep their old numbers when switching, and will be able to top up online, by phone or via text.
The service is being launched in partnership with The Phone Co-op, which will provide the service on the EE network using its MVNA partner Transatel. Prospective customers can check the strength of network coverage in their area with an interactive map on the company’s website, which shows fairly extensive coverage across most of the UK at the moment.
Calls to other Co-operative mobiles cost 4p a minute, with an 8p per minute charge for calls to local and national numbers and other mobile numbers. Texts to other Co-operative mobiles cost 2p per message with a 4p per message cost to other mobiles. An MMS costs 25p per message.
Data costs 5p per megabyte, while there is a cost of 4p per minute for calls to customer service (500) and to access voicemail (555).
International rates are also included, starting at 2p per minute for calls to Ireland, Canada and Hungary, 3p per minute to Australia, China, New Zealand and Spain, and 4p per minute to France and Germany. There is a minimum charge of 1p. Texts cost 8p per message.
The new network will also offer monthly bundles of texts, minutes and data, revealing three tariffs – 50 minutes, 3,000 texts and 500 MB data for £10; 500 minutes, 3,000 texts and 1 GB data for £15; and 1,000 minutes, 3,000 texts and 2 GB data for £20.
The Phone Co-op founder and CEO Vivian Woodell said: "Up to now, consumers have been forced to accept that if you want to get very good national rates, you’ll have to pay a lot for an international call, and vice versa, or that you’ll be charged an arm and a leg for calling 0800 or 0845 numbers. Some providers have low ‘headline rates’ but then charge for a whole minute when you’ve just spoken for a few seconds.
"With The Co-operative Mobile that won’t happen, and it’s the combination of all these features that makes us so different. We’re proving it’s possible to have all these benefits in just one SIM card."
CEO for retail Steve Murrells added: "It is a major milestone for The Co-operative Group to be entering the telecoms sector with its own branded products. It’s a genuine own-brand co-operative product, fair and simple, with no strings attached."
As well as buying in-store, customers can also order the new SIM card online at http://payg.thephone.coop/ and by phone, free of charge, by calling 01608 434343.