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New Mobile Contract: T-Mobile or Three?

Sat 22nd June 2013

A while back I complained about O2’s poor customer service when my account was hacked. I also asked my readers which operator I should switch to, which resulted in votes for EE and Three. However, it has taken me until now to sit down and look at the current 30-day SIM-only plans and pick one.

I used Bill Monitor to analyse my current usage and recommend new tariffs. My recent averages have been 63 minutes of calls, 296 texts and 285MB of data. This results in the following options:

operator price minutes texts data cost of data over allowance
Three £9.90 200 5000 500 £0.10/MB
T-Mobile £10.00 250 500 500 £7.48/MB
Three £12.90 200 5000 unlimited N/A
T-Mobile £13.00 500 unlimited 1024 £7.48
Vodafone £13.00 100 unlimited 750MB £0.02/MB
Orange £13.00 1000 unlimited 250MB £0.02/MB

There’s clearly a couple of bands: the £10 contract and the £13 contract. Based on Bill Monitor’s calculations, I definitely only need the £10 per month. However, I occasionally go over my current 500MB data limit when I tether my phone and laptop because I am away from the ubiquitous WiFi of campus and home.

Because of this realisation, I checked the cost of drifting over the allowance. Shockingly, according to Bill Monitor, T-Mobile charge SEVEN POUND FORTY-EIGHT PENCE PER MEGABYTE! That’s 74.8 times as much as Three and 374 times as much as Vodafone and Orange! Incredible.

I had been leaning toward T-Mobile, as apparently their reception is better than Three’s at some locations I frequent. But this is a bit worrying! Let’s investigate further. T-Mobile’s terms and conditions says this:

Each mobile internet option gives you a data allowance to use each month. We’ll let you know by text message when your data is running low (80% of your allowance is used up) and when it has run out. You cannot use mobile internet on your phone to make internet phone calls (‘VoiP’), to use your phone as a modem (‘tethering’) or for peer to peer file sharing. Please see the network management policies on our website for more information. We won’t charge you any more if you reach your monthly data allowance, but if you exceed your data allowance, you will be charged £1 a day until your next monthly bill for each day you use data. Customers on £8 a month, £11 a month plans or £16 a month (12 month plan) or £10 a month, £13 a month plans or £18 a month (30 day plan) will have their service restricted if they use an additional 1GB over their inclusive data allowance.

That kinda contradicts Bill Monitor. £1 a day isn’t too bad. It would add up if I go over the allowance too early in the month, but is better than £7.48 per MB.  Not being allowed to tether is a bit concerning. Three also don’t allow tethering on their unlimited plan, but it would be nice not to have to worry about going over:

SIM plans with All-you-can-eat data do not allow tethering (except for the One Plan). If you would like to tether, you will need to choose a Pay Monthly plan and / or an Add-On that does allow tethering.

This leaves me with a dilemma: Do I risk Three’s purported lesser coverage in the places I need it, with the benefit of cheaper (or even unlimited data), or do I go with T-Mobile and risk getting gouged for going over my data allowance? Vote now!

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From → Mobile Phones

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