Mobile By Sainsbury’s Closure: What To Do Next & Alternative Deals
November 17th, 2015
Mobile by Sainsbury’s will close on the 15th January 2016. We outline the best alternatives, how to transfer your phone number elsewhere and how to get a refund for unused credit.
In a message posted to their website, Mobile By Sainsbury’s has announced that their service will be closing on the 15th January 2016. Customers should transfer their phone number to another network before the service closes on the 15th January. Remaining credit should also be used up (otherwise, you’re able to claim a refund for unused credit).
In this article, we’ll highlight some of the possible options for customers who are caught up in the Mobile by Sainsbury’s closure. We’ll discuss some of the best alternative networks and how you can keep your current phone number when moving to another network. We’ll also discuss the process of getting a refund for unused credit.
Mobile by Sainsbury’s Closure
On the 15th January 2016, Mobile by Sainsbury’s will close in the UK. Services on the network are being gradually wound down:
- 14th October 2015: Mobile by Sainsbury’s is no longer available to new customers.
- 14th November 2015: The final date on which you were able to top-up your account.
- 14th November 2015: Rolling bundles were automatically ended on the 14th November. You can still use up remaining Pay As You Go credit but only at the standard rates or by buying a one-off bundle.
- 15th January 2016: The Mobile by Sainsbury’s service will officially close. Customers will need to use up any remaining credit and will need to transfer their phone number elsewhere before the service finally closes.
- 14th July 2016: Mobile by Sainsbury’s will continue offering double Nectar points for six months after their closure. The promotion will end on the 14th July 2016.
Customers wanting to transfer their phone number to another network can request a PAC Code online through the Mobile by Sainsbury’s website. You can alternatively give them a call on 0333 313 1150. When calling, you’ll also be able to request a refund for unused credit. The refund can be given to you in one of three ways:
- As a Sainsbury’s gift voucher. You can use this in your nearest Sainsbury’s supermarket.
- As additional Nectar points. This is probably the best way of receiving your refund as you’re able to use it at a number of retailers (including Sainsbury’s, Argos, Pizza Express and Vue Cinemas). You can also use the additional points in the Sainsbury’s double-up promotion where they’ll be worth twice as much.
- As a cheque. If you reject the first two options, you can alternatively have the credit returned to you as a cheque.
The reason for Mobile by Sainsbury’s closing is due to their MVNO agreement with Vodafone coming to an end (this is the agreement that allowed them to operate a mobile service on the Vodafone network). It was rumoured as early as July that Vodafone wanted to pull out of the UK MVNO market. At the time of closure, the Mobile by Sainsbury’s network had about 150,000 subscribers.
Alternatives to Mobile by Sainsbury’s
Pay As You Go
At the moment, you’re charged 8p/minute, 4p/text and 5p/MB on the Mobile by Sainsbury’s network. ASDA Mobile and the Co-operative Mobile are able to match the old pricing from Sainsbury’s (they also charge 8p/minute, 4p/text and 5p/MB). Both networks make use of coverage from EE (use the online coverage checker).
For an even cheaper alternative, Three charges just 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB:
|Mobile Network||Calls (per min)||Texts (per SMS)||Internet|
|Tesco Mobile Lite||8p/minute||4p/text||10p/MB|
|Talkmobile||8p/minute||4p/text||25p/day for 25MB|
|Post Office Mobile||8p/minute||10p/text||10p/MB|
|giffgaff||10p/minute||6p/text||20p/day for 20MB|
For more information, please see our full comparison of Pay As You Go networks. The article will compare prices on each network along with the level of coverage you’re able to expect.
Bundles with 500MB of Data
Currently, on Mobile by Sainsbury’s, you’ll be paying £10/month for 300 minutes, 5000 text messages and 500MB of 3G internet. With a rolling bundle, this would have been discounted in price to £8/month.
If you’re only able to get coverage from the Vodafone network, you could alternatively switch to Vodafone’s Big Value Bundles. For £10/month, you’ll get 150 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of 4G internet. For more information, you can read our full review of the Big Value Bundles).
Bundles with 1GB of Data
On Sainsbury’s, you’d currently be paying £12.50/month for 500 minutes, 5000 texts and 1GB of 3G internet (discounted to £10/month on a rolling bundle). Once again, the best alternatives can be found on ASDA Mobile and giffgaff.
On ASDA Mobile, you’ll get a larger allowance of minutes for £10/month (600 minutes instead of 500 minutes).
On giffgaff, you’ll get the same monthly allowances but with a free upgrade to higher-speed 4G internet. The £10 goodybag has 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of 4G internet.
Bundles with 2GB of Data
Customers on the 2GB bundle would currently be paying £15/month on Mobile by Sainsbury’s (discounted to £12/month with a rolling bundle). This would have given you 800 minutes, 5000 texts and 2GB of 3G internet.
The best value alternative is giffgaff’s £12 goodybag. Though it has a smaller number of minutes, you get access to faster 4G internet at no additional charge.
Customers wanting coverage from Vodafone can switch over to the £20 Big Value Bundle. This includes 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of 4G internet. Unfortunately, it’s a big jump up in price from the current Mobile by Sainsbury’s bundle but there are very few Pay As You Go offerings still using the Vodafone network.
For a full comparison of the bundles available on each network, see our guide to the UK’s best value Pay As You Go bundles. For customers willing to sign a contract, a Pay Monthly SIM card can give you even better value.
Keeping Your Phone Number
In order to keep your existing phone number, it’s important to take action before the 15th January 2016. If your phone number hasn’t been transferred to another network before this date, it will cease to function and your phone number will be lost.
Step 1: Request your PAC Code from Mobile by Sainsbury’s
A PAC Code (or Porting Authorisation Code) allows you to move a phone number from one network to another. You should request a PAC Code from Mobile by Sainsbury’s as quickly as possible either through their website or by calling 0333 313 1150. You can call them any time between 8am and 8pm daily. If you’d like to request a refund for unused credit, we recommend calling to obtain your PAC Code.
As per OFCOM regulations, you must be given a PAC Code within 2 hours of your request. Once issued, the PAC Code will be valid for 30 days. If you don’t use the PAC Code in this time, you can request another one by calling Mobile by Sainsbury’s again. The final date for requesting a PAC Code is the 15th January 2016. We would, however, highly advise against leaving this until the very last minute (it will take some time for the transfer to be completed).
Step 2: Find a new mobile network for your phone number
You’ll need to find a new mobile network to which you’ll be able to transfer your phone number to. Most mobile networks will offer you a free Pay As You Go SIM card, though our recommended alternatives are ASDA Mobile and giffgaff (see the section above for a full comparison).
For a full list of possible options, please see our guide on free Pay As You Go SIM cards. It can take a couple of working days for your new SIM card to arrive.
Step 3: Provide your Mobile by Sainsbury’s PAC Code to your new mobile network
After receiving a SIM card from your new mobile network, place it into your phone and then activate your SIM card. To complete the transfer of your number to the new network, you’ll need to give them the PAC Code issued from Mobile by Sainsbury’s.
For step-by-step instructions on using a PAC Code, please select the mobile network you’d like to join:
|PAC Code Finder: How to use your Mobile by Sainsbury’s PAC Code|
Your phone number will normally be transferred on the next working day after you submit your PAC Code. To ensure an uninterrupted service, your phone number transfer should be completed before the 15th January 2016. We therefore recommend submitting a PAC Code to your new network no later than on the 13th January 2016.
It’s not possible to transfer your credit to another network. For this reason, you should try to use up any remaining credit before the transfer takes place. Alternatively, ask for your credit to be refunded when requesting your PAC Code from Mobile by Sainsbury’s. For more information, please see our in-depth article on how to use a PAC Code.
My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.
Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.