Thursday, July 30, 2009

Every Little Helps

Love them or hate them Tesco like WalMart are pushing back the walls of their stores.

Firstly, Tesco Mobile has announced it will be launching the UK's first ever 'Unlimited' monthly tariff. It will be allowing their plan subscribers to unlimited talk, text and data for just £30 per month. There is a fair use policy but with a ceiling at the equivalent of £500 worth of calls, texts and browsing per month it should be one that only a very few will ever reach – that’s unless you know better.

Tesco CEO Lance Batchelor is widely quoted saying, "You don't have to choose if you're a chatterbox or a texter, you can use your mobile as much as you want without having to worry about the cost. We believe that this will change the way people use their mobile phones. The new tariff aims to give people a simple, guaranteed way to have unlimited calls, texts and browsing. It takes away the concern and uncertainty about your monthly bill as it's fixed at £30, meaning you can talk, text and browse freely."

Tesco has a virtual network running off the back of a licensing agreement with O2 so everyone will be watching what they and the other carriers now do. After the recent performance problems on the O2 service it will be worth watching its performance as it takes on Palm Pre, the iPhone and now Tesco unlimited.

Tesco has also made the API (application program interface) to its online shopping service available to developers who will now be able to make their own apps to let you load up your trolley from just about anywhere. It may not be the same as Ocado’s iPhone app, which lets you shop even when out of mobile or Wi-Fi signal, but opens up the total catalogue of the UK’s biggest retailer. The Guardian reported earlier this month on some of the earlier adopter constraints ‘Tesco offers an API for its shopping. Now start thinking what to use it for’, but there are potentially more positives than negatives in this move.

This would enable access from any phone and for developers to place Tesco product buy buttons in to websites and potentially for consumers to scan barcodes in store to get product information directly on their mobile. This approach offers significant opportunities to anyone with a catalogue and a Tesco relationship – maybe books?

UPDATE: within 24 hours Virgin Media have matched Tesco's unlimited offer. Nay more takers?

No comments: