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14 November 20114 Comments by Jon M

T-Mobile/Lyca feud update

A couple of months ago we reported on the T-Mobile rip-off tactics of secretly removing Lycamobile numbers from its inclusive package of voice minutes. Following up on that article, we can now reveal that T-Mobile erroneously list UK-based 07 mobile numbers that were originally issued by LycaMobile as “international” in order to allow their billing systems to charge customers extra.

Like 3, Vodafone and Orange, LycaMobile issue phone numbers on the 074 range (specifically the 07404 prefix code) and T-Mobile automatically charges customers for calls to these numbers even if they have minutes remaining. While some customers have managed to get one-off refunds by complaining and threatening to call Ofcom or CISAS, it seems this is an official T-Mobile policy that is here to stay regardless of its dubious legality.

T-Mobile have thankfully advised the full range of numbers that are not included in their allowances and have confirmed that the additional charges are specified in their Terms and Conditions of service:

07744 07755 07404 07405 074088 078931
075202 075594 075894 075895 075896 079112
075897 07609 07610 07621 07682 079118
077077 0782210 078228 078920 078921

Unfortunately this doesn’t fix the ethical issue of it being utterly unpractical for the average user to check whether a phone number is on the blacklist before dialling. Indeed, we would have thought that it would be a completely reasonable assumption to assume that all UK mobile numbers are allowed for inclusive minutes. The regulators have made it clear that mobile tariffs have to be transparent and nobody could claim that T-Mobile’s advertising about this is at all transparent. In any case, Ofcom, clearly indicate that “numbers 071 to 075 and 077 to 079 are UK mobile numbers”.

A potential solution if you are a Lycamobile user would be to try to request a PAC from another SIM and port in a non-074 number and see whether this addresses the issue. You could even use this opportunity to get a new personalised Gold phone number.

4 Responses to “T-Mobile/Lyca feud update”

  1. Ian 14 August 2015 at 22:01 Permalink

    The reason that calls to these particular mobile numbers were non-inclusive in call plan allowances is simply that the Termination Rate was far above that payable for calls to ordinary mobile numbers on the main mobile networks.

    When Ofcom intervened in the mobile market in 2009, they imposed a price cap on the Termination Rates charged on incoming calls to the main mobile networks. From April 2010 onwards, the cap was reduced annually. Smaller networks were not bound by these rules and were simply told to ‘charge fair and reasonable rates’.

    While the MTR cap was reduced by Ofcom from around 4p per minute in April 2010 to 0.84p per minute by April 2014, some smaller mobile networks and various automated and interactive ‘non-mobile’ services continued to have termination rates of up to 15p per minute.

    Smaller networks charging high termination rates on incoming calls can use this revenue to reduce the cost of outgoing calls made from their own network. Various ‘non-mobile’ services charge high termination rates and use that revenue to pay for providing the service. The main mobile networks could not include calls to numbers with high termination rates otherwise they could be paying out more in termination fees than the caller paid for the inclusive calls package.

    The latest reduction in Mobile Termination Rates, effective 1 May 2015, reduced the rate to 0.68p per minute and extended this cap to cover all UK mobile providers. In one simple move Ofcom has removed the basis for these calls being non-inclusive.

    The rate cap does not cover calls to mobile numbers in Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man. The termination rate for these calls is still in the range 1.2p to 1.5p per minute. These calls therefore remain non-inclusive and expensive for the time being.

    Calls to personal numbers starting 070 are also not included in allowances. These have termination rates of up to 40p per minute with the caller covering the cost of providing the service.

    • Mobile Network Comparison 16 October 2015 at 01:20 Permalink

      Thanks for your detailed explanation 🙂

      It’s a shame it took Ofcom so long to enact a simple fix to avoid this issue but, unfortunately, hardly surprising.

  2. Joe 21 November 2011 at 18:48 Permalink

    I’ve found it utterly impossible to use data on Lycamobile, with any type of phone. Tried Androids, Nokias and Motorola.The APN they give you is either wrong, or the service has not been enabled, or the fact that the SIM is always roaming. Three calls to customer service and I’ve pretty much given up.
    Has anyone got it to work on Android? if so please post here.

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