Superstores recruit 500,000 mobile users

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The Independent Online

Tesco's T&S Stores will become part of a major roll-out of Tesco Mobile in the coming months, the company said yesterday, after announcing it had recruited more than 500,000 customers to its telecoms operation in little more than a year.

Chris Living, Tesco Mobile's chief marketing officer, said the opportunity for the next 12 months would be to expand sales of mobile phones and SIM cards through the rest of the superstore estate and also its chain of Tesco Express stores. At the moment Tesco Mobile is available from 500 superstores. It has begun trialling the sale of SIM cards in 10 Tesco Express stores, claiming initial results were "strong".

Mr Living confirmed that the old T&S convenience stores, which are being rebranded Tesco Express, would be included in the expansion of SIM card sales in 2005.

Tesco has 1,870 stores, including its convenience chain, which could sell mobile phones. Its mobile service uses mmO2's network to carry calls that cost 20p a minute anytime, with half price calls to three favourite numbers.

Mobile phone companies are expected to announce strong Christmas sales, with customers also upgrading to the new third generation (3G) services offered by 3, Vodafone and Orange.

Both 3 and Vodafone said they were "pleased" with Christmas sales although they declined to provide any figures before trading updates in January. Carphone Warehouse, the retailer, which also traditionally publishes a Christmas trading update, already predictedthis year would see a bumper Christmas.