Global Economics

Sweden's IKEA Offers Cheap Phone Calls


The furniture retailer claims that its new pay-as-you-go mobile service for loyal customers is Britain's cheapest by 25%

Home furnishing retailer Ikea is hoping to make the humble pay-as-you-go (PAYG) mobile SIM as handy as a standard issue Allen key by undercutting the competition by a quarter.

The purveyor of oddly named ranges of flat-pack furniture has pulled a new product out of its bargain bin: a pay-as-you-go mobile SIM it claims offers the lowest price PAYG calls and texts in the UK—at a flat rate of 9p per minute, and 6p per text.

PAYG SIMs are available to the 1.4 million members of the Swedish furniture behemoth's 'Ikea Family' customer loyalty programme. The mobile service has been branded 'Family Mobile'.

The 9p call rates and 6p text rates apply at any day, time and to any network (except premium rate numbers), according to Ikea, which claims the offering is "at least 25 per cent cheaper than any other comparable pay-as-you-go offer".

While there is no contract, minimum spend or monthly charges, £10 of credit must be purchased initially to activate each SIM. Ikea said mobile users will be able to keep their existing number.

Family Mobile users can also set up a household account with a number of SIMs registered to one joint account—in order to more easily stay on top of the household's mobile costs, according to Ikea.

The retail giant is partnering with mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Mobile Partners UK for the service, which piggybacks on T-Mobile's UK network.

Bargain basement mobile phones will not, however, be available to buy in Ikea stores, alongside Lack coffee tables and Billy bookcases. But phones will be available via Mobile Partners at www.familymobile.co.uk .

The Family Mobile service will launch on 8 August and Ikea will kick off the offer by giving its entire body of 9,500 UK 'co-workers'—aka store staff—a free mobile phone and SIM loaded with £5 credit.

As well as cheap-as-chips PAYG mobile goodness, Ikea Family members enjoy a multitude of Ikea-based benefits, including discounts on selected Ikea products and restaurant meals, free tea and coffee in the Ikea restaurant on week days and a free home furnishing magazine.

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