Tesco, the dominant force in British supermarket retailing, on Monday announced a joint venture with UK telecoms group Cable & Wireless. Branded Tesco Telecom, the operation will offer residential fixed-line services provided by C&W.

Billings and customer service support will be contracted out, respectively to Servista and Vertex Customer Management. Tesco is doing little more than lend its name and marketing clout to the enterprise – a strategy it has already successfully pursued in touting financial services, credit cards and travel in partnership with the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Explains Tesco ceo Sir Terry Leahy: “Customers tell us they want a more convenient way to lower their phone bills. Because we think like retailers, not like a utility company, we will give customers supermarket-style offers; and a simple alternative to the 'lock-in' contracts and complex billing systems that they hate.”

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff