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T-Mobile overhauls monthly contracts

T-Mobile is sweeping out the cobwebs and bringing in new tariffs for its pay-monthy contracts, starting next month, which offer much more flexibility

T-Mobile is promising to sort out the heaving, steaming morass that is mobile phone tariffs by revamping its entire pay-monthly price structure. Starting on 1 February, the confusing medley of 'combi' and 'flexi' deals will be replaced with a new range of contracts.

Customers will choose from typical bundles that include minutes, texts and data, and add a choice of one free extra that can be changed every 30 days, at any point during the month. The options are unlimited Internet, international calling, roaming, unlimited calls to landlines or unlimited calls to other T-Mobile customers.

So, for example, if you're having a big holiday one month, you'll probably not be online as much, but you'll be doing a lot of roaming, so you can switch your unlimited Internet to a discount roaming tariff for that month.

We think it could still be a pain, unless T-Mobile makes it very easy to switch options online, without having to queue in telephone support limbo. And it would be even better if you could switch whenever you want, rather than only once a month -- most holidays don't last that long, sadly.

T-Mobile hasn't released the full details of every plan it will be offering, but it has given us some examples. Take the T-Mobile G2 Touch -- otherwise known as Editor's Choice the HTC Hero -- on a £25-per-month plan.

Currently, you could get the phone free at that rate, on a 24-month contract that includes 300 minutes, unlimited texts and an Internet plan with a 1GB fair-use policy. T-Mob calls this the Combi 20 Offer with the obligatory Internet Booster.

With the new contracts, the same phone and monthly cost bags you 600 minutes, 500 texts, the same 1GB Internet plan and your choice of one extra -- international calling, for example.

Sounds like a better deal to us, unless you're a frenzied texter, although we're not sure it simplifies things all that much. In the meantime, we still recommend that you try deal-comparison tools such as our own Mobile Deals section, to make sure you're bagging the best deal for yourself.