Tesco Selling VoIP

by Bruce Stewart

logoTescoTelecoms.gif UK supermarket giant Tesco has entered the VoIP business according to CNET today, and will soon be offering its customers a Tesco-branded VoIP service bundle in over 350 of its stores. Rates for PSTN calls from Tesco's service will start out well above Skype and other VoIP carriers, but apparently Tesco doesn't see any problem with that:

"Our focus isn't to compete with Skype," said Alex Freudmann, commercial manager for Tesco Telecoms. "We're launching the service because our customers expressed a need. Our customers wanted a simple pricing structure. Our VoIP pricing is in whole pennies--the halfpenny doesn't exist any more--and there's one call rate at all times."

I wonder who they do think they're competing against?


Edd Dumbill
2006-01-20 05:39:56
This amount of distribution is quite amazing. Combined with their retailing and other operations, Tesco are in a good position to exploit a largish VoIP consumer base. They already offer ISP and mobile phone services and have enough muscle to back every horse in the race.
Edd Dumbill
2006-01-20 06:12:44
Useful follow-up quotes piece from competitors on the Register.
Bruce Stewart
2006-01-20 09:04:31
Thanks for the comments and link Edd. I agree the implications of large non-telecom retailers getting into this business are pretty interesting. The incumbent telcos know they have a big fight ahead with the cable companies for their customers, but are they preparing to do battle with the mega-chains too? I bet it won't be long before we see VoIP bundles at Wal-Marts here in the U.S. too...
2006-01-24 16:32:01
Tesco risks a damp squib on this one. The IP performance that I've experienced on the end of a Tesco branded ADSL pipe is nowhere near adequate to run VoIP reliably. I'm trying to work out whether it's BT Wholesale's DSLAM ATM backhaul or, maybe more likely, contention down NTL's central pipe through to their peering point (NTL being the bit carrier behind the Tesco Broadband brand).