Argos and Sainsbury’s have stepped up the competition in the fiercely competitive mobile phone market with new launches today.

Argos has launched a new online contract mobile phone service. The store, which trades from, allows shoppers to buy handsets and choose from a range of contract tariffs across all of the main mobile networks including Vodafone, Three, Orange, T-Mobile and O2.

Purchases will be despatched for next day home delivery and customers also have the option of purchasing insurance for their handset through the site. Tariffs start from £10.50 per month.

The new offer builds on Argos’ existing pay-as-you-go and SIM-free mobile phone range currently available in its stores and online.

The number of sales made by Argos customers shopping with smartphones and tablets grew by 114% in the first quarter of the current financial year and account for 14% of its total sales.

Sainsbury’s, meanwhile, launched a new pay-as-you-go plan for its shoppers in partnership with Vodafone.

Mobile by Sainsbury’s marketing director Emma McLaughlin told Retail Week that the grocer’s plan, which allows shoppers to collect Nectar points as they top up, “simplifies the options for customers in a market which mainly targets young customer after the latest gizmos”.

The Sainsbury’s plan will allow shoppers to buy SIM cards from more than 1,000 stores, handsets from 250 shops and browse a full range of phones at shop-in-shops.