We’ve been with T-Mobile for well over a decade, first signing up when they were known with One2One.
We’ve always been on yearly contracts, but in recent years had elected not to take them up on their offer of a new handset at the end of the contract, preferring to take a discount instead.
As our contract had recently ran out, we gave them a call seeing what kind of deal we could get for the new G1 (which they have exclusive UK rights to). Here’s how the cheery call went:
Digital Lifestyles: “Hi. We’ve been with you guys for around ten years now, always on yearly contracts. As you know, our last contract has recently expired, so we’re looking to upgrade to the T-Mobile G1″
T-Mobile: “Certainly. That’ll be £305 on the G1 standard 18 month contract”
DL: “But we can get the phone for free if we start a new contract”
T-Mobile: “Yes. But, that’s the upgrade cost to you”
DL: “Right. So being loyal to your company for a decade actually works against us, with someone off the street getting the phone for free, while we have to pay £305 extra for exactly the same deal. Is that correct?”
T-Mobile: “Yes. That is correct”
Suitably baffled, we asked to speak to a supervisor who gave us the same response, so we’ve written to the company for clarification. Surely they can’t be treating loyal customers this badly when the mobile market is competitive?
The Pain of ‘Exclusive Deals’
All of this highlights the annoying restrictions for consumers when phones are offered on exclusive network deals, where it becomes a case of “like it or lump it.”
Apple famously did this with their O2 deal, and now punters looking for some Android love are forced to face T-Mobile’s less than generous upgrade deals or walk and hope for other Android phones to emerge.
Meanwhile, we’re casting our eye over attractive looking deals on other networks, so it looks like after a decade with T-Mobile we’ll be leaving them behind. After all, treat your loyal customers like mugs, and they’ll web’n’walk.