The Co-operative rings the changes with its first pay as you SIM card

April 05, 2014

The Co-operative Group is entering the mobile phone market by launching its first own-brand pay as you go (PAYG) SIM card, which offers one of the most competitive deals available.

The Co-operative Mobile pay as you go will be available in more than 3,800 Co-operative Food stores* across the country from this month.

It is being launched in partnership with The Phone Co-op, which provides the service, and will offer low-cost national and international rates, transparent pricing and extensive UK coverage in a single SIM card.

The Co-operative Mobile SIM card, which is also the first Co-operative prepaid mobile service, will be sold in more outlets than any other supermarket brand SIM card.

Key features of The Co-operative’s Mobile PAYG SIM card are:

• Low cost national and international rates** – to suit all customers’ needs, from people who mainly call UK numbers to those that regularly phone abroad but still want good domestic rates. National rates are even cheaper when phoning and texting other Co-operative mobiles.

• Honest pricing – customers pay for what they use. Unlike many other operators, The Co-operative Mobile does not round up to the nearest minute, giving people the opportunity to make a quick call for just a couple of pence.

• Widespread national coverage – The Co-operative Mobile service is hosted by Everything Everywhere (EE), the UK’s largest network.

Steve Murrells, Chief Executive Retail, The Co-operative Group, said: “It is a major milestone for The Co-operative Group to be entering the telecoms sector with its own branded products. We believe that by working with The Phone Co-op we are able to offer one of the most competitive and straightforward mobile pay as you go SIM card packages in the market.

“It’s a genuine own-brand co-operative product, fair and simple, with no strings attached.”

The Co-operative Mobile pay as you go SIM card is a collaborative venture between a number of British co-operatives***, including The Phone Co-op, which has provided telecommunications services for 15 years.

Vivian Woodell, founder and CEO of The Phone Co-op, added: “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. The Phone Co-op is owned by customers, so there are no outside shareholders to pay. That means we can give people the value, and the service, they deserve.”

Over the next month, consumers will start finding the new SIM card in their local Co-operative Food store for just 99p.The cards can also be ordered online and by phone, free of charge, from The Phone Co-op by visiting or by calling 01608 434 434.

* Participating Co-operative Societies:

Name of Co-operative No. of Stores
The Co-operative Food 2,779
Central England Co-operative 268
The Midcounties Co-operative 234
Scotmid Co-operative 198
Southern Co-operative 189
East of England Co-operative 18
Lincolnshire Co-operative 78
Chelmsford Star Co-operative 39
Heart of England Co-operative 34
Radstock Co-operative 13

** The Co-operative Mobile pay as you go rates:

Description Price
National calls
Local and national numbers 8p per minute
Co-operative mobile numbers 4p per minute
Other mobile numbers 8p per minute
Texts to Co-operative mobiles 2p
Texts to other mobiles 4p
MMS 25p
Data 5p per MB
Special numbers
500 - Customer service 4p per minute
555 - Voicemail 4p per minute

International rates:

Starting at 2p per minute for calls to Canada, Ireland, Hungary; 3p/min: Australia, China, new Zealand, Spain; 4p/min: France, Germany. Texts: 8p/min
All rates include VAT at 20%.

There is a minimum call charge of 1p.

Rates correct as at 1 April 2014.

Competitive bundles of minutes, texts and data are also available.

For further details, check:

*** Packaging of the SIM cards has also been produced by worker design and print co-operative Calverts.

Additional Information:

The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned by nearly eight million members.  It is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer operating across the country with almost 2,800 local, convenience and medium-sized stores. 

Amongst its other wholly-owned businesses are the UK’s number one funeral services provider, the third largest pharmacy chain, a growing legal services operation and a major general insurer.

As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group, which operates 4,500 outlets and employs approaching 90,000 people, is a recognised leader for its social goals and community-led programmes.

The Phone Co-op Limited
The Phone Co-op sis an independent consumer co-operative based in Chipping Norton, Manchester and London. It is the UK’s only telecoms provider that is 100% owned and run by its customers.

The Phone Co-op operates nationwide, providing fixed and mobile telecommunications services to over 23,000 residential and business customers, including other co-operatives, charities and third sector organisations.

Since 2012, The Phone Co-op trades as The Co-operative Phone and Broadband, The Co-operative Business Telecoms, and The Co-operative Mobile.

Social and environmental responsibility underpin everything The Phone Co-op does, from the way it treats its customers and staff to how it invests its profits. In recent years, The Phone Co-op has invested extensively in renewable energy, supported many new and expanding co-ops, and has recently been working with the emerging student co-operative movement.

About EE network
EE (Everything Everywhere) is the largest and most advanced digital communications company in Britain, delivering mobile and fixed communications services to consumers, businesses, government and the wholesale market. With approximately 15,000 employees and 600 retail stores, EE serves more than 27 million customers on EE, Orange and T-Mobile mobile and broadband plans.


For further information please contact:

Kieran Howlett      
Senior Public Relations Officer
The Co-operative Group
Tel: 0161 767 4289
Mob: 07739 657 585

Isabel Benitez
PR Executive
The Co-operative phone & broadband
Tel: 0845 458 9031