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T-Mobile UK earmarks two tariffs for scrappage

Not so flexible, not so friendly

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T-Mobile UK is junking its Combi and Flext tariffs next month, the trade paper Mobile Today reveals.

The cellco will also scrap 12-month contracts and will replace the Solo sim-only tariff, according to the paper.

In a presentation seen by Mobile Today [which probably means it has its hands on a briefing document meant for retailers], T-Mobile said the new payment plans will "allow ‘great customer offers’, ‘ultra flexibility’ and ...offer better value for customers".

Replacement plans will enable customers to choose from ‘flexible’ boosters of unlimited texts, landline calls, internet and roaming boosters, Mobile Today says.

Combi is T-Mobile's budget contract option: customers get unlimited internet or text messages, a set amount of call minutes and a choice of two cheap phones. Aimed at heavy users, Flext automatically "remixes" credit according to usage. The contract comes with a "hot" phone and 18-month lock-in - and a minimum commitment of £40 per month, in return for £225 credit.

Combi and Flext may not be missed, if T-Mobile retail staff reactions, captured by Mobile Today, are anything to go by. One notes little consumer appetite for Flext and drawbacks with Combi, which has "no flexibility because the customer has got to have unlimited texts even if they only send two text messages a month".

Spectrum analysis

Britain is supposedly Europe's most competitive mobile phone market, with all the major operators - and 3 - jockeying for position.This could soon change with T-Mobile's owner, Deutsche Telekom, effectively throwing in the towel in the UK, where it is an also-ran. It wants to merge its UK business with France Telecom's Orange unit, to create the UK's biggest mobile phone company with 29 mill subscribers. By all accounts, Orange executives will take charge, when regulators let the merger proceed.

This month, O2, Vodafone and 3 called on the UK's Competition Commission and / or the Office of Fair Trading to review the deal, citing fears over the merged group's accumulation of radio frequencies that may be used for rolling out 4th-generation LTE data services.

The Register's Bill Ray notes that T-Orange would have 37 per cent of UK customers but over half of the available radio spectrum. More here and in even greater detail here.

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