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Tesco Mobile is cutting the price of cross network calls from tomorrow and is more than doubling the number of handsets it sells as the giant supermrket chain readies itself for the busy Christmas period. From tomorrow, Tesco Mobile punters who nominate three numbers can get those calls and texts at half price.

Said Andy Dewhurst, chief exec of Tesco Mobile: "As a new mobile operator we know many of our customers will have friends on other networks, so our new tariff will mean they will benefit whoever they call.

"We're determined to keep our tariff simple as customers have told us they love the fact that with Tesco Mobile you know what you are being charged. Offering 5p a text to anyone on any network is great value and we know many people make most of their calls to the same people each day."

Tesco Mobile was launched in September 2003 and is a 50:50 joint venture between Tesco and mobile operator O2. By the end of the year it could be facing stiff competotion from new-kid-on-the-block mobile outfit, easyMobile.

Two weeks ago entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the boss of the easy group of companies including easyJet, confirmed that he was teaming up with Danish telecoms outfit - TDC - to launch a low-price mobile phone outfit in the UK with the option to roll-out the service in a further 12 European countries.

TDC will launch a discount mobile company in the British market using the easy brand later this year. However, confirmation of Stelios' latest venture was overshadowed after Orange warned that any move by easyMobile to use orange - the easy group's corporate colour - could "confuse" punters.

However, the threat of damaging legal action appears to have been averted after Stelios met with Orange last Thursday. A spokeswoman for Orange said that meeting had been "constructive" and that both sides were "working to find an amicable solution to the branding issue". ®

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Stelios confirms no-frills mobile outfit
Stelios preps launch of easyMobile
Ryanair, Stelios in telecoms departure
Tesco Mobile hits the streets

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