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Phones

Co-op pay as you go SIM out this month, calls from 4p per minute

Promising "honest pricing", The Co-operative Group has entered the mobile world, vowing that it won't round prices to the nearest minute.

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The Co-operative Group

The Co-op is lunging into the world of mobiles with an 0wn-brand pay as you go SIM-card, that goes on sale this month.

The Co-operative Group, probably best known for its chain of supermarkets, says it will offer pay as you go SIMs in more than 3,800 of its shops across the UK -- though you can also order a SIM-card online. The card itself costs 99p, with calls costing from 4pm per minute.

That's how much it costs to ring a fellow Co-op customer. Calls to non Co-op numbers will cost 8p per minute, and it's also 8p per minute to call local and national numbers. For comparison, Vodafone's pay as you go charges are 30p per minute to UK mobiles.

As the Co-op promises not to round up call charges to the nearest minute, you should be able to make very quick calls that only cost a few pence.

Texts to Co-operative and non-Co-operative members will set you back 2p and 4p respectively. Sending an MMS will cost 25p, and data costs 5p per MB. The news comes as EE announces that it will be hiking prices by 2.7 percent from 28 May.

The Co-op, which is owned by its nearly 8 million members, isn't putting up its own telephone masts -- rather it'll run its networking using EE's hardware. The Co-operative Group told me that the new SIMs are being launched in partnership with The Phone Co-op, which is a different society that already sells phones, and monthly minutes, data and text bundles.

The Co-op follows Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda into the crowded aisles of supermarket-branded networks. The Group is currently reeling from huge losses and scandals at its banking arm, with its independent director Lord Myners calling for dramatic reforms.

Would you buy a Co-op SIM-card, or would you rather go with one of the bigger, more established operators? Let me know in the comments.