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:
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.