Asda to file complaint against Vodafone, BT

Supermarket chain Asda has announced that it is to make an official complaint to Oftel, the telecommunications regulator, about mobile phone operators BT Cellnet and Vodafone. The supermarket chain claims that the telecoms giants reneged on sales agreements two days after it started to offer prepaid mobile phones for £49.

Supermarket chain Asda has announced that it is to make an official complaint to Oftel, the telecommunications regulator, about mobile phone operators BT Cellnet and Vodafone. The supermarket chain claims that the telecoms giants reneged on sales agreements two days after it started to offer prepaid mobile phones for £49.99.

"They tore up the deals and announced that they were upping prices by 90 percent, to £79.99," said an Asda spokeswoman.

A Vodafone spokeswoman denied that it was responsible for the price rise, claiming, "We are not restricting resale prices. We have merely changed the subsidiary payments made to our suppliers, something we have varied several times over the last few years."

Vodafone also cited high demand as the reason for its prepay service for the rise in prices: "We have over 6.5 million customers and we have to be responsible as network operators to ensure that we offer our existing customers the best possible service," said a spokeswoman.

Orange, which is also to increase pre-pay prices from September 1, said that the price hike was a reflection of the cost prices of the handsets, rather than increased demand for services.

An Oftel spokeswoman said: "We don't regulate how much Asda sell phones for, that's entirely up to them. As yet it has made no complaint to us."