In this section

Spring 2014

Our co-operative difference
New products and services
Meet out Affinity Partner
 icon_pdf.gif You can also download a pdf version of this newsletter here


Pay As You Go: a big step forward

It's been a massive project, but we're delighted to announce that The Co-operative Mobile Pay As You Go SIM card has arrived! During the next few weeks, our first prepaid SIM cards will become available in over 3,800 Co-operative Food stores across the country.

Lee and Fiona

Lee and Fiona, part of our Products Team, in our office in Chipping Norton. 

This new product aims to fill a gap in the market for a highly competitive prepaid mobile product (with excellent pricing and coverage) that is provided by an organisation owned and co-operatively run by its customers and offers fair and transparent pricing.

"Consumers will now have a co-operative option in the prepaid mobile market and that is a big advance for The Phone Co-op. Our distribution agreement with The Co-operative Food will drive volume sales and this will help us to meet our customers' needs even better", says our CEO, Vivian Woodell. "Our members have been asking us for this service for years. Many people don't use their phones much, or like to control their spending, or want a good deal for their children's first phone. We're delighted this means we can offer our members and customers an important new service that represents excellent value and is a truly co-operative option."


A truly co-operative venture

- The Co-operative Group and independent societies are key partners in this venture.
We have wanted to offer a Pay as you go SIM card for quite a while but a venture like this has large set-up costs and if you add to that the cost of setting up a sizeable dis-tribution channel it all becomes quite difficult. Our co-operative partners have solved this for us by providing over 3,800 stores where we can sell our highly competitive SIM.

 - Calverts, a worker co-operative has designed and printed our SIM packaging. We will also be displaying leaflets offering our other telecommunications products in store and Calverts have designed and printed these

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Our co-operative difference

"Anything a huge company does we can do better"

Shelagh Young was appointed Chair of The Phone Co-op in February, taking on the position previously held by Linda Ward. She has served on our Board since 2012, but now she's got a new challenge ahead. Asked about the future, Shelagh admits to being proud of what we've achieved so far, although she thinks the best is still to come. In this interview, we find out more about her.

Shelagh Young.jpg Our Chair, Shelagh Young

Some members may remember you from our latest Board election, but for the newcomers: where does Shelagh Young come from?

I am a consultant working mainly with Third Sector and public sector organisations in Scotland. My background is in climate change and sustainability. I first worked for a co-operative in the mid-1980s. I have been a member of The Phone Co-op since 2006.

With that background, what do you think you can contribute to our organisation?

I'm a big supporter of our approach to carbon emissions reduction and I am proud to say I have only used my car once to reach a board meeting in over two years. But sustainable development doesn't just apply to environmental issues. People forget that sustainability encompasses social justice. This knowledge helps make sure we don't rest on our laurels when it comes to improving our ethical performance.

How does it feel to be a Director of The Phone Co-op?

The Phone Co-op operates in a really challenging business sector. It doesn't always feel like we are competing on a level playing field, but it gives me a buzz to think that, given a fair chance, anything a huge company does we can do better. When I hear people becoming despondent about the impossibility of challenging the status quo, I am able to counter the gloom and doom by telling The Phone Co-op's story. That is really rewarding.

So what in your opinion is The Phone Co-op's biggest achievement to date?

Surviving its first few years - not many new businesses make it and The Phone Co-op did. We've also turned around after a couple of challenging years and we're thriving at a very worrying time in terms of the broader economy. That's two big achievements, but I suspect the best is yet to come.

Where would you like to see us in the future?

Things move so fast that it's hard to say exactly where The Phone Co-op should be except that whatever our industry has to offer I'd like us to be alongside the market leaders in terms of service provision and innovation while still setting the benchmark in terms of ethical performance. For example, by being early adopters of new products such as the more ethical Fairphone.

Interested in finding out more about Shelagh Young? Read the full article on our Membership blog: 

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A grant to support student co-operatives

Students for Co-operation recently celebrated its founding conference in Birmingham with The Phone Co-op's support: £5,000 drawn from our Co-operative and Social Economy Development Fund.

 This is a fund that members approve to be used out of profits to support the growth of new co-operatives. It is part of our wider purpose to inspire others with an alternative, better model for business and the economy.

Students for co-operation

 The founding conference brought student co-operatives from across the country together for the first time, to start forming a national association. Our CEO, Vivian Woodell, attended this event. He said: "It was very inspiring to see young people coming together to solve their issues in a co-operative way."

 Sean Farmelo, co-founder of Students for Co-operation, remarked: "The support that we have received from The Phone Co-op has been incredibly valuable."

You can follow Students for Co-operation on Facebook and Twitter.

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Remember, we've got a date!

On Saturday 12 July 2014*, in Chipping Norton, it's our half-yearly members' meeting. We are still working on the programme and, although we cannot give you much detail yet, we can already confirm there will be a lot to get your teeth into with several workshops running throughout the day. We'll keep you posted. Check nearer the time for further information.

*Please, note this date has changed. Our half-yearly meeting was initially scheduled for 5 July. 

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New products and services

The Co-operative Mobile: now you can also Pay As You Go

This spring, we have launched The Co-operative Mobile Pay As You Go (PAYG) in co-operation with The Co-operative Group and independent societies. Look out for it in your local Co-operative Food store.
Our first prepaid SIM card offers both competitive UK prices and low cost international calls, great coverage and, like other Co-operative Mobile products, it beats our competitors by being fairer and more transparent. The Co-operative Mobile PAYG charges by the second and does not round up to the nearest minute, which means you can make a quick call to say 'I am on my way home' for just 1p. If you are thinking of getting a new mobile service, this may be what you are looking for.

SIM standardSIM International

Benefits of Pay As You Go

Pay As You Go is ideal for people who want to keep close control of their spending. PAYG allows you more flexibility, because you only spend as much as you need. It is popular amongst young people and international customers visiting the UK.

We have made top-ups easy and offer you lots of different options:

• By cash. PayPoint and Payzone are available in lots of retail stores all over the country, including the Co-operative Food stores

• Online. Just visit our website

• By phone. Call 1250.

Auto and low balance online top-ups are also available, so running out of credit is not a problem any more.

How do you get a Pay As You Go SIM card?

You can buy our SIM cards in The Co-operative Food stores for 99p - that's over 3,800 shops across the country! If you prefer, you can always order one for free online or by phone.

Can you keep your number?

Yes, you can. You'll just need to call your existing network provider and request a PAC (porting authorisation code) and give us that code when you've activated your PAYG SIM.
If you've got your mobile service with us, check out our latest offers on our monthly contracts. If you are interested in moving to Pay As You Go, please, give us a call.

I'm a member, do I get dividend on Pay As You go?

Of course you do. Give us a call or register online when you activate your new SIM card and we'll link your membership account to your PAYG service to earn dividend on the calls you make.

Need further information? Visit, call us on 01608 434 434 or send us an email at


Pay As You Go rates

Our rates:

Cheaper rates for calls to other
Co-operative Mobile users.

Low cost interna­tional calls.

Data: 5p per MB

Bundles available.


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We've also reviewed our monthly mobile contracts

We've increased our monthly minute allowance and the number of options you can choose from and lowered prices at the same time.

With The Co-operative Mobile, you can now Pay As You Go. However, prepaid services do not necessarily suit all mobile customers. That's why we also offer monthly bundles (SIM-only or with a new handset included).

By comparison with Pay as you go, bundles offer the advantage of you not running out of credit and needing to top up, as well as receiving monthly bills that help you keep track of the amount of minutes, text and data you've used. In addition to that, subscribing to a bundle for 24 months also gives you the option of selecting a brand new smartphone to use with the service.

We've refreshed our bundles to give you more options to choose from while helping you to save some money at the end of the month.

Do you want to find out more? See the table below:

New Monthly Bundles

We usually encourage our customers to keep their handset for as long as they can. By doing this, we are working together to save the planet by reducing electronic waste. However, we know electronic devices don't last forever. If you need a new mobile phone, you can choose one and add £10 a month to the cost of your bundle. Visit our Mobile page to check our prices and the smartphones currently available:

These new bundles are available now. Just go to to order. If you are already a mobile customer but would be interested in changing your current bundle, contact Customer Services on 01608 434 000 or by email at

If you still need help to choose the right mobile service, have a look at our blog or just give us a call: 01608 434 040.

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New email supplier

In May, we are upgrading our email platform. This will cause no disruption to you, but will be a big improvement on our previous service. It will be easier to use and will offer you extra facilities. You will be able to customise your account, especially with regard to spam and content filtering. But, above all, it will enable us to offer you a better and more resilient service. We'll send you further details nearer the time.

Extended hours for Customer Service

You can now contact our Customer Services team from 8am to 9pm, Monday to Friday, and from 9am to 3pm on Saturdays. For line and broadband faults, Technical Support can be contacted 7 days a week, from 7am to 10pm. Our colleagues can be reached on 01608 434 000.

Changing the price of directory enquiries telephone number

From 1 May 2014, a call to our directory enquiries telephone number, 118114, will cost £1.06 per minute with a £1.05 fixed connection fee (inc. VAT). You can request more than one number at a time, saving you further call costs.

Calling 118114 is one of the options you've got when looking for a telephone number, however, if you have internet connection at home or on your mobile phone you may like to consider looking up telephone numbers online. There are online directories that you can use free of charge, just by typing "directory enquiries" in your search engine. 

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Meet our Affinity Partner 

Soil Association: promoting sustainable farming

11 years after we started working together, over 360 Soil Association supporters have become customers of The Phone Co-op. In return, we've given 6% of their purchases, which amounts £50k in total, back to this organisation. 

Abbey Home Farm LOW RES (192) - CYMK.jpg

The Food for Life scheme educates children on how food is produced.

The Soil Association is the UK's leading membership charity campaigning for fair, healthy and ecological food, farming and land use. They recognise the urgent need to achieve a dynamic balance between the needs of the public as consumers and citizens, food producers and the wider ecosystem - our soil, plants, livestock and wildlife. The Soil Association works to enable everyone to be able to access fresh, healthy food that is good for them and the planet.

The Soil Association provide advice, technical support and knowledge to develop innovative and healthier farm systems. They campaign on issues ranging from pesticides to factory farming and GM, calling for a more sustainable approach to food and farming.

Through the Food for Life Partnership the Soil Association works with thousands of schools across the country to give children a broad food education, based not just on healthy eating, but on understanding where food comes from and how it is produced.

Soil Association Certification meanwhile, certifies around 75% of the organic products on shelf in the UK, and works to support and grow the organic market.

The Soil Association are transforming food and farming in the UK, enabling a future where people and the natural world can thrive together. A snapshot of recent achievements:

• Over 40 on-farm apprentices placed, nurturing the next generation of organic farmers

• 95% of all UK dairy herds and non-caged laying hens inspected using our criteria, ensuring the very highest level of farm animal welfare

• 4,700 schools helped to transform their food culture, improving the health of children and their families

• The Soil Association Catering Mark scheme has over 150 caterers onboard, serving more than 750,000 meals a day

• Their Keep Britain Buzzing campaign to protect bees by banning the use of harmful neonicotinoid pesticides was vindicated in early 2013 when the European Commission announced a Europe wide suspension of three of these pesticides for two years.

"We're making real progress through inspiring and enabling people to eat and farm better" Helen Browning, OBE, Soil Association Chief Executive

"For the sake of our children and our children's children, it is vital that we pioneer new solutions to tackle climate change, support biodiversity, improve animal welfare and champion good food for all" Monty Don, President of the Soil Association

The Soil Association has recently launched a campaign to help save UK wildlife, you can find out more and how you can get involved at

If you are involved in, or know of, an organisation that needs to raise funds, why not suggest they become one of our Affinity Partners? Our partners endorse our services to their supporters and we share the revenue with them. To find out more, call Pat Moral on 01608 647 745 or email for more details.


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Spread the word

Happy with our services? Proud of being a member of The Phone Co-op? 

Then, tell your friends. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. We are the only phone and broadband provider in the UK owned by you. 


We are here to serve our members and customers, and we like to provide you with interesting news and updates. Tell us how we are doing and if there is anything you want us to write about. Contact us by email on

Customer Services 01608 434 000

Residential sales: 01608 434 040

Business Services: 01608 434 070

Membership: 01608 434 006


Need help?

Call us on 01608 434 000 for assistance, or send us an e-mail and we'll call you.