Tesco’s best selling handset is the £18.99 VX1i Party Phone

If you’re a handset fascist like me, you might want to look away now…

… right. You can look back now.

For the brave amongst you, that handset you see above is the VX1i Party Phone that retail behemoth, Tesco, are selling by the bucketload. In the two weeks leading up to Christmas, Tesco sold over 20,000 of these.


Here’s Lance Batchelor, CEO of Tesco Telecoms/Mobile:

“Our handset was developed as an affordable replacement, temporary phone or alternative to a more expensive phone, but its popularity really has taken us by surprise.

“The start of a new year is the perfect time to cut costs and we are amazed to see how many shoppers want a plucky little alternative to the smart-phone pack – or they want both!”

It’s not all about selling loaves of bread at Tesco. Oh no. They know exactly what they’re doing. Just take a look at the research they’ve been doing on their target audience. For instance, they found recently that 8 out of 10 women find it annoying to carry a handbag on a night out. (I find it annoying for those women — it’s hugely inefficient arsing around with a handbag, right?)

Further, As skinny jeans are becoming more and more fashionable, 69% of Brits — apparently — find it uncomfortable to squeeze a stupidly large mobile phone in their pocket.

So if you’re a retailer of mobile devices and telecoms products to the masses, whaddyado? Tesco launched the ultra slim VX1i Party Phone. The mobile that slips into the skinniest pair of jeans.

I would like to point out that the iPhone is pretty skinny. But if you assume an average total 18-month cost of an iPhone as £800, you could buy about 44 Party Phones for the same price. The Party phone is unlocked so it’ll work on any network (apart from 3).

Tesco are doing rather well with accessory sales too: In the last 7 days before Christmas, they sold 5,000 mobile broadband dongles and 10,000 memory cards.

They’re doing something right. The retailer already has 100 dedicated Tesco Phone Shops across the UK with another 100 due to open this year alone. I wonder if the other mobile phone retailers are noting the pressure?

3 Responses to Tesco’s best selling handset is the £18.99 VX1i Party Phone

  1. Chris Davies January 12, 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    Handset fascist or otherwise, I think it's brilliant that we're seeing more unlocked, SIM free options on the market. Who would've thought Tesco would be the one driving it.

  2. Ewan January 12, 2010 at 2:32 pm #


  3. Mike42 January 19, 2010 at 3:57 pm #

    The major problem with this is that you don't care that your £18.99 phone just went down the toilet, but your USIM. That's your life. Your contacts.

    Tesco (or any MNO) would be smart to offer this with an extra USIM pack, that you could link to your main USIM, and make calls from using the same CLI as the main one. Maybe throw in a USIM-copy-backup-dongle-thingy as well.

    Then you truly don't care if you loose the phone. At all.

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