Asda signs with Vodafone for MVNO

1 min read Networks & Network Services
Vodafone has been talking to the Stock Market about weaker-than-expected margins, promising more job cuts and greater emphasis on data revenues.
Vodafone has announced a deal with supermarket chain Asda to provide the Wal-Mart Stores subsidiary with its own-brand MVNO.
 Asda Mobile will launch in 52 stores before June, reportedly with an aggressive strategy to gab a good prepay market on the back of Asda’s ‘everyday low prices’ catchphrase. Interestingly, Vodafone recently recruited Heloise Bessey to handle the Asda business; Ms Bessey came from 20:20, where she was a key figure in the Tesco account.

A year-ago Vodafone set up some exclusive mobile concessions in Asda stores on a trial basis.

Tesco has 1.4m customers for its own O2-based mobile network, but that was launched back in 2003; hitherto none of the supermarket chains have seemed interested in the market, preferring smaller-scale conventional retail operations. Carphone’s Fresh isn’t setting the world alight, either.

To cover a more upmarket customer, Vodafone has also signed another deal—with DSG International, to target small businesses through 30 ‘Vodafone Connectivity Centres’ in PC World stores, with more to follow.
DSGi and Vodafone will also look at providing support for Vodafone small business customers through DSGi’s TechGuys digital support service.

Meanwhile Vodafone Group’s UK Chief Executive Nick Read is anticipating tough price competition among the mobile networks. Without referring specifically to either deal, he told an audience of analysts and investors that the UK mobile phone market is “likely” to see further consolidation among mobile phone operators.

His boss, Vodafone Group Chief Executive Arun Sarin, added that “the single largest cost saving opportunity in the business is network sharing”. Vodafone recently announced network sharing deals Orange in the UK and Spain.

Read also has little interest in quad-play services such as the Virgin Mobile / NTL bundle. “We are seeing no evidence at all yet that there is a consumer need or demand for quad-play. I don’t see these players at the moment gaining traction.”