Tesco expects to save £8 million to £10 million a year with the creation of an innovative telecommunications network for the group’s UK and international operations.

Core to the savings will be the creation of a private mobile phone network.

Staff who Tesco provides with a mobile phone will be able to make and receive calls routed over Tesco’s wide area network when they are at Tesco’s UK sites.

Their phones will switch automatically to use Tesco’s existing mobile supplier O2’s network when they are out and about. This will reduce call and equipment costs.

The network will also be used to create new services for both customers and employees.

It is to be built by Cable & Wireless, in a five-year deal costing Tesco£100 million. It will consolidate multiple wide area networks the retailer currently has running and will be up and running within 18 months.

For more details on the project see next week’s issue.