back to article 3 calls foul on T-Mobile price promise

UK operator 3 has called in the Advertising Standards Authority to rule on T-Mobile's claim that no one gives more minutes for thirty quid - on the grounds that 3 offers more minutes for a lower price. T-Mobile's claim is that no other operator bundles more minutes for £30, which is true, even though 3 charges three quid less …


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  1. Edward Rose

    Nope, they aren't correct.

    I'd put money on it that offering 3 £30 for the £27 service would be fine by them. And, we know mobile operators are always up for bartering.

    Okay, my title is actually twoddle unless you accept that 3 are 'offering' any price by assuming you will barter. I am, of course, in favour of my original statement though.

  2. Ash

    Technically accurate

    The best kind to be.

    In other news, vendor benchmarks found to be misleading or incomparible to real-world situations.

  3. Tim Spence

    Too many conditions

    With this sort of comparison (whether it's technically correct or not) and it's related endless conditions, it's a step too far and the ASA need to clamp down on it. All the networks could run adverts that say, "You can't get more minutes for £31.23 per month" (replacing £31.23 with any arbitrary amount which is unique to the market), and *technically* they'd all be right.

    Headline claims like this need to be clear and not be misleading.

    My other favourite is where shop price labels and signs have "£2" or other ridiculously low figure in a massive bold font, and in small print next to it is " Now only £48". Obviously designed to be misleading, and should be stopped.

  4. JP Sistenich
    Thumb Down

    Not right at all!

    For 30 quid, with the 3 service the customer could get the 27 quid free minutes, PLUS another 3 quids worth of minutes on billed rates. That would then be 400+ more minutes than the T-Mobile deal.


  5. Anarchy

    all liars

    Mascara adverts, where the model has artificial lashes on, but it only says in tiny letters

    Car adverts where the price on screen ISN'T for the car on the screen

    Sales & Marketing = scum

  6. Pie

    3 actualy have a very simple pricing structure

    especialy on their business tarifs, which is why I am switching my companies mobiles to them. they charge a rental for the handset and on for the miniutes. Easy to understand, and the cheapest I could find as well.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    T-Mobile are wrong, and so are you

    You can still pay 3 £30 for the £27 plan if you want you know....

  8. Andy Hards

    I thought it was wrong as soon as I saw the ad.

    I get 1100 mix and match mins for £30. Admittedly it was on a special but I'm pretty chuffed with that amount. ONE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED minutes!!! Means I can talk absolute shite for hours without thinking about it and still let the missus use it once hers mins are over and out.

  9. W

    Easy solution

    All 3 needs to do is offer a "dummy tariff" that's the same as the one they're currently offering, but +1 extra minute for the extra £3. Obviously no-one will take the tariff, but it'll be available. And then T-mobile will have to shut their cakehole. Thankfully. The adverts for this campaign are dross.

    Having said that, if you can't be arsed to do a brief comparison of tariffs every 12/18 months that it crops up, and rely on what an individual operator claims then you're not really helping yourself are you?

    Furthermore, who ever runs out of minutes or texts anyway? Even the bottom bracket £15 monthly jobs give you more than any normally functioning person could use.

    Data prices however...

  10. Gerard Krupa

    The adverts are correct

    You almost certainly can't find more minutes for £30 if you search a Roman excavation or contact the dead. Visiting Carphone Warehouse on the other hand may be more productive.

    Mines the one that says I'm not affiliated with Carphone Warehouse in any way and in fact the last time I went in there some numpty tried to sell me an iPod charger to charge my bluetooth headset.

  11. Mike Crawshaw

    More Mins on PAYG

    I use an O2 PAYG plan. I top-up £30 per month. That gives me 300 mins free, plus (£30/5ppm) 600 mins = 900 mins for my money (plus unlimited free SMS, which is nice). Plus they give me 20% extra for everything I top up, which is nice, an extra £6 a month.

    So I get 900 mins for £30, where they give 700 mins. So T-Mobile's marketing are lying/wrong. Surprise.

    (But I guess there's some small print which says "PAYG not included in comparison"...)

    I don't like 3 one bit (sick of them ringing about my "Orange phone (WTF?)where the contract is up, would I like to save money???" but good luck to 'em here.

  12. sam

    Moot point

    Because if you've been with T-mobile before you'll remember why you left.....

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    I'm on T-Mobile's "Max Unlimited" tariff, which was discontinued a couple of years ago....I get unlimited calls per month....

    Originally it was £35+VAT per month...but as I've been with them a while, they keep offering me free phone upgrades...which I decline in favour of extra money off the monthly tariff....

    It's now down to £20+VAT for the same functions....

    While I hate the fact that all the mobile service providers deliberately make it difficult for people to make comparisons, it's still fairly simple for people to get a good deal, if they recognise what they use their mobile for (mostly) and hence find a deal that suits them....

    This might over complicate things, but ultimately, everyone gets what they want...!

  14. Steven Raith


    Yes, you get up to 1100 minutes for around £30 on 3, so you could go for 700mins and 400 texts.

    T-mobiles £30 is 700 mins, unlimited texts*, and unlimited** data if you go for the free web'n'wank. I mean web'n'walk. And you can get a nice shiny HSDPATW4T phone for free [not the case on PAYG] which has GPS and mapping. So you can watch pr0n on your mobile, then use Google Maps to find a strip joint for when pr0n just isn't enough.

    So you can be pendantic all you want, but I think on *overall value*, T-mobile has most other operators pipped there. And I think the problem is that they failed to market it as that.

    I looked into this pretty closely as I was wanging about £25-30/month into my mobile, and fancied getting something out of it. Shiny phone and inclusive data ahoy.

    Steven R [currently on the above plan, with a Nokia 6650, which is really rather nice]

    *yes, FUP obviously - the lass on customer services reckoned it was actually unlimited but I doubt it.

    **yes, another FUP, but it's about 2gb, which is plenty for a mobile...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear oh dear

    3 and T-Mobile are supposed to integrating sharing bits of each others network. Let's hope 3 doesn't have too many "glitches" taking T-Mobile's calls. Else my T-Mobile broadband, already running like a 3 legged dog compared to last year, will be fit only for the taxidermist.

  16. pctechxp

    @Mike Crawshaw - PAYG is better value

    I agree with you, I use O2 PAYG for the same reasons.

    I top up and get x inclusive minutes plus the value of the credit I've just topped up.

    If I'm not going to use the phone that much in a month I wont top up and will just pay for my calls out of my credit, a working phone with no money extracted from my bank account other than if I top up and if I run out of credit I can still receive calls and top up when I want to and get 10% back every three months and a percentage of call time or a handset discount if I upgrade, great, 'tis the future I tell thee!

    I think networks/retailers should be banned from using the word free in relation to handsets as it is simply untrue, while they may subsidise the cost of the hardware to a certain degree, be under no illusion, the operators get that back and then some and your monthly charge is split between inclusive minutes and that 'free' shiny new bit of hardware in your hand.

    PAYG is far better value than any contract.

  17. Craig Lawson

    T-Mobile... Oops

    On T-Mobile's own page...

    "You won't find more minutes for £30. Guaranteed. Based on a comparison of the set number of UK network anytime inclusive minutes offered by the other 4 networks (O2, Orange, Vodafone and 3) in their SIM only, 12 and 18 month plans for new customers. Our comparison excludes any promotional offers from the other 4 networks."

    Maybe they are saying you can't get more minutes for EXACTLY £30...

    Plus it won't extend to customers of existing networks who get resigned. Remember the networks try to keep you!

  18. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    @Pie -must try harder

    "which is why I am switching my companies mobiles to them."

    Company's or companies'

    It's obviously this lack of grammatical accurarcy which is encouraging global terrorism!

    Where's the red pen icon? Mine's the white one with the long arms...

  19. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    @Andy Hards

    "Means I can talk absolute shite for hours without thinking"

    Whar about? How much you save on your phone bill? ;-)

  20. Terry Blay

    Easy solution

    3.... put out an advert:

    "No one gives you more minutes for 27 quid"

    Then smile your cheesiest biggest grin at T-Mobile and see what happens next.

  21. marc

    Change it to this then

    "More minues than anyone for £30 (you get signal too)"

  22. Matth
    Jobs Horns


    It's funny how little people actually know about whay they're talking about...

    Forget the comparisons price plans costing less than £30 a month... The fact is the conditions of the deal are very simple (and clear).

    It has to be on the same handset range, on SET minutes only - it does not include texts, or anything else. 3 don't offer minutes only, they are offering their mix option (which is a copy of T-Mobile Flext, anyway, that's beside the point).

    3 are having a hissy fit because they do not offer a plan for £30 a month. Yes it's true, read the small print of your £30 3 tarrif, I think you'll find your plan is actually £27, and you pay an additional £3 for the handset you chose. If you have chosen a cheaper handset, you'd have been paying £27 all along.

    So the fact is 3 do not have a £30 tarrif, and even if they did, they don't offer a SET minutes allowance. What exactly are they contesting? That T-Mobile advertisments are correct? Even with conditions aside (which are open and easy to find) - 3 do not offer more minutes for £30. It's not a trick, or a ploy - it's very simple. If you want to pay £30 a month, nobody will give you more minutes. And you get unlimited texts for your trouble too.

    For those of you who seem to have missed the point, the idea is that if any other network do offer any more minutes for £30, you ring T-Mobile up, and they will match or better within 24 hours (provided it's a standard, non promotional, SET minutes deal). Yes there may be a few conditions, but they're a business afterall... You know, those things that are around to make money!

    If you want to dictate your own conditions, start your own network...

  23. Joe Harrison

    The whole minutes thing is madness

    I remember analog days when you paid through the nose for your "line rental" then same again for your calls. But at least there wasn't this bundled minutes rubbish. Just shows the power of marketing:

    "10 pounds a month rental (plus compulsory minimum 5 pound call spend)"

    does NOT sound so appealing as:

    "15 a month with fiver's worth of free minutes!!1!"

  24. lee bunce


    Exactly as its been said already, the £30 price cannot include payment for a handset, is not to be be a promotional offer and is for set minutes only. So if 3 were to bring out a plan at £30 a month, be it a standard plan with set minutes, then t-mobile would match or beat the plan via their guarantee.

    All seems fairly simple to me, plus on t-mobile the majority of customer service is uk based, i know there are some in manilla but there is always the chance of talking to soebody in the UK, try getting that on 3.

    Anyone had a text saying "that as I was a 'loyal (network name) customer' I could claim a free camera phone." Then to call 0207 153 9153 to claim it.

    Ive done some research and t-mobile are in a legal dispute with the company sending the messages, and the company work on behalf of 3. So 3 can be as misleading, you wont be getting an upgrade more like a new line.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Hilarious, Matth

    The distinction between SET minutes and other minutes appears to be very important in your comment -- what are SET minutes?

  26. Stef

    Comparing like with like

    Good luck with trying to get decent reception with 3!

    Their coverage is patchier than a pirate with alopecia.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    3 Customer Service...

    Whether or not 3 or T-Mobile give you more minutes for your money, 3's customer service is dreadful, and I have spent a month and a half trying to resolve a simple problem during which the phone has been for repair twice and the Indian Call Centre has been pretty much useless.

    Possibly the best bet is to worry about that side of things alongside your "free" minutes. They certainly come at a different cost...

  28. Anonymous Coward


    Your wrong and your an ideot. Now go away.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Look, people, get a grip.

    While I enjoy the vagueries and fineries of semantic analysis as much as the next man, to the average Joe on the street, "you'll not get better for a tenner" means "you'll not get better without paying more than a tenner". IE. This is the cheapest. You can discuss how and why it doesn't mean that till the cows come home, but if that's what people think, that's what it means. (cf decimate)

  30. Paul Buxton

    @Moot point

    I've never been with T-Mobile but I'll take your word for it. I have been with Orange and I remember why I left (the words "thieving lying fuckwits" spring to mind but I can't say that as it would leave me nothing to say about 3 who are actually worse than Orange could ever aspire to be and have managed to take thieving lying fuckwittery to a whole new previously unexplored level).

    So 3 have the audacity to complain about another operator? I've been complaining to 3 for a year and a half about their crap service (including outright lies they have told to me) and they don't care about that - double standards I feel.

    T-Mobile can probably argue in court that lying is what the entire mobile phone business is based upon and there is therefore no case to answer to.

    I don't care how many free minutes any of the bastards are offering or how many free iPhones or broadband or cars or yachts or holidays abroad or trips to the moon they offer to get me to sign a contract - all the fucking about from these companies has put me off for life. When just one of these companies takes a serious approach to customer services, instead of treating me like a twat for the length of the contract and then offering me cash in lieu of crap customer services simply to get me to sign up again to be treated like a twat again for the length of the contract, then I may consider dealing with them again (though I doubt it will be in this lifetime).

  31. Paul

    @Paul Buxton

    WTF did they do to you? I've been with 3 for the past 4 years, and never had a problem.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It seems alot of people....

    Are getting confused. If you are getting phone calls and they have your network wrong, or are offering you something if you phone a high cost phone line, it is probably not from your phone company. I have had them...

    "Hello Sir, I am calling from 3. We see your contract is nealy up...." 6 months in to a contract.

    And "Hello Sir, I am calling from O2 about switching from your T-Mobile phone" When I was on 3.

    If you look in to it this is not the networks, these are people trying to scam you... And I bet the people who are complaining about this are the same people sayin "LMFAO I can't beleave people get caught by e-mail scams. They are so dumb."

  33. Anonymous Coward

    @Comparing like with like

    Funny, I live near one of the large transmitters in the SE of london and I fail to be able to get -any- signal from the following networks:T-Mobile & O2. I get shite Signal from Vodafone, Good Signal from Orange....

    And the only network I get -FULL- signal on is 3. If their signal is so shite as you say then how comes non of the other networks work as well?.... Or haven't you heard of the enviroment and suroundings impacting on the signal of your mobile?


  34. Gary Heard

    Hotspot Data Charges

    Interesting point, or at least I think it is.

    Last week I was in Germany and bought a 30 day T Mobile Hotspot Tariff for a 30 Euro's. This week, in UK, thought I'd just check out the price for the UK equivalent --- £40 for 30 days.

    Now by my reckoning €30 = £24, so why do we Brits pay £16 premium?

    I don't know about other networks, anybody else know?

  35. tom carbert-allen
    Thumb Up

    3 is well cheap

    i got the three 27 quid 1100 tarrif on special offer for £20! (not just for x months either) and got a 3g usb stick for £5 a month (half price when got with phone) oh and i switched the missus too a £15 a month at the same time to get an extra 2000 free mins each way between us.... did i mention they thru in £40 free accessory voucher in which i got a 2gb micro sd card, second battery and car charger?

    remind me again why t-mobile is cheaper (they were good to me but i left them for being too pricey and blocking IM, rtsp and voip on the 3g service (oh and recompressing pictures to fucking shit) even though they promised me when i ordered it nothing was blocked

    3's CS are Indian (the two i have spoken to have been great though) but i don't care as i probably only call once a year... saving hundreds of quid is worth it

  36. Anonymous Coward

    TMUK not wrong - Three are...

    the £27 deal Three are offering is only with select (read 'not very good') handsets, you'll need to pay more per month if you want a decent phone.

  37. Nigel Jones

    3 coverage is fine

    Just on the "good luck with coverage comment" -- if you're a long running customer on 3 you can currently roam on

    - 3 3G

    - orange 2G/edge

    - O2 2G

    That's actually pretty good! T mobile would obviously add the extra 5 transmitters they have. (and vodafone always seem great) -- mind you 3 have a data sharing agreement with T-mobile coming up so what does that mean - data works on any or 3/tmobile/orange/o2. That would be cool!

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