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3 calls foul on T-Mobile price promise

Says offers more minutes, but for less money

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UK operator 3 has called in the Advertising Standards Authority to rule on T-Mobile's claim that no one gives more minutes for thirty quid - on the grounds that 3 offers more minutes for a lower price.

T-Mobile's claim is that no other operator bundles more minutes for £30, which is true, even though 3 charges three quid less for 400 more minutes on its Mix & Match tariff. The comparison only works with T-Mobile's the 18-month Combi deal, which offers 700 minutes, but it's pretty clear that 3 is offering more minutes - even if that is at the cost of less text messages.

In the complaint letter sent by the operator and seen by El Reg, 3 claims to have called up T-Mobile anonmyously and was advised that the deal was not compared with "3's Mix & Match" - the operator's only contract offing. The disputed advertisement states: "We've already searched the other four networks." So it's hard to see how 3 could have been excluded - perhaps they meant Voda, Orange, O2 and UK01?

These price-guarantee campaigns are really about discouraging punters from look elsewhere, and mobile tariffs are deliberately made confusing to prevent a price war. Simplistic pricing is too easily compared, so it is possible that this is a genuine mistake on the part of T-Mobile.

The ASA is still examining the complaint, and has promised to get back to us soon. Perhaps it's checking whether there's a get-out clause anywhere. After all, T-Mobile is technically accurate in saying that no one gives more minutes for £30. ®

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