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14 August 20110 Comments by Jon M

Beware: T-Mobile rip-off

T-Mobile has been accused of “failing its customers” after it recently emerged that it has been charging extra for calling LycaMobile. The details get even worse – T-Mobile silently and sneakily removed all LycaMobile numbers from its inclusive bundles leaving several customers with huge surprise bills.

LycaMobile claim that the issue has been ongoing for some time and they have complained to Ofcom and Trading Standards about the issue. A spokesman claimed that T-Mobile should be upfront about these hidden costs and said that, “In short, what they appear to have done is reach their own commercial decision as to what to include as either ‘in‘ or ‘out‘ of its bundles, and now confuse the position with references to jargon. T-Mobile is clearly failing its customers”.

T-Mobile responded by claiming that LycaMobile had excessively ramped up its Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs) which are charges between networks for terminating calls into different networks. A representative said “While Ofcom have introduced some recent changes to mobile termination rates, responsibility for call-bundle policy, including which numbers are classed as inside and outside of bundle, sits with all the major network operators”. T-Mobile claim that LycaMobile’s MTRs are much higher than other mobile networks‘ and so their numbers were removed from inclusive bundles.

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that LycaMobile’s MTRs are actually regulated by and in line with Ofcom. We think that T-Mobile’s behaviour is especially despicable as there’s no reasonable way for customers to know in advance whether an 07- mobile number belongs to a LycaMobile customer or not and therefore, no way to know your costs in advance. In light of this, we can only suggest that existing T-Mobile customers look out for a cheaper mobile network and consider porting their number over especially if they frequently call LycaMobile customers.

Looking at the other mobile networks in the UK, it turns out that Vodafone also charges extra to certain networks although it would not admit which these were. They also claimed to have informed their customers about these additional charges. 3 have not responded to a request for comment while O2 and Orange come out of this looking much better as they both have confirmed that they charge a flat rate to all networks and include all mobile numbers in their call bundles.

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