Is your mobile phone company giving it all away?

25 February 2009

Desperate times call for desperate measures. We're struggling through the days right now, and you've no doubt checked and re-checked your monthly budget to see how many more precious pennies you can squeeze out of it. So you may have found yourself questioning whether you really need a mobile phone or, at the very least, whether you can get a better deal.

But spare a thought for your multi-billion pound pan-global telecommunications operator too. Actually don't, but remember they're suffering because of the recession too, and short of offering you a hand job on your older sister's double bed while she's down the youth club, many will do anything to keep your business.

We know this, because just yesterday one of the Bitterwallet team terminated their mobile contract with Three. After much begging and pleading by the Retentions department, Three offered 10 months free line rental. We've heard plenty of tales of mobile operators dropping their trousers to keep your business, so we're asking you to share your recent experiences to help every Bitterwallet reader get a bargain. Tell us what network you're on and:

  • What you were offered to stay with your current operator
  • What they would and wouldn't negotiate over
  • Whether you were able to squeeze additional benefits out of them - upgrades, data etc

Let us know details of what you wanted from them and what they were prepared to give you, and hopefully we can all squeeze a few more pence out of our budgets next month.

TOPICS:   Mobile


  • sboy2010
    For the past 2 years CPW have offered me my existing bundle (O2 750, 750 inclusive Offpeak XNetwork Calls, 125 SMS) for free for the entire 12 months, in lieu of a phone upgrade. They simply credit my account with the year's line rental on day one, and i watch it dwindle over 12 months. It's an old tariff, but it works for me.
  • MrBrightside
    My original plan was 9 months at £25, 3 months at £35 (12 month deal, with a crappy phone). This gave me 600 mins, 500 texts and no data. I rang to say I wanted to cancel, they first offered me an offer of £20, 18 months for 600 mins and 1000 texts. At first I was trying to get a decent phone out of them, but there were just too many silly prices. They were hesitant to offer a 12 month contract too, but I kept pestering. I haggled for a while, and got them to give me 600 minutes, unlimited texts, unlimited data on a 12 month contract at £15 (or same thing with 1000 texts at £12.50). For some reason I chose the £15 offer (though I don't even use anywhere near 1000 texts) I know there's pretty similar deals available recently, but I got this about 4 months ago. This was with Vodafone btw
  • James
    I'm currently on Vodafone's £20 per month SIM only plan (600mins, unltd texts) Elsewhere I can get more bang for my buck on O2 or T-Mobile, do you think Vodafone would be willing to offer me more to keep my business? Obviously if I was on a "full" contract of 12/18/etc months i'm sure they'd be willing to give me something extra but the SIM only contracts are only 1 month.
  • Liddle m.
    My last upgrade wasn't as successful, but the one before that (circa March 2007), 3 offered my a similar deal to the one described. It was also 10 months free and it worked out at £4 a month over 12 months with a free k800i for a 500 minute anytime contract. But I have several contracts with 3 and have been loyal to them for 5 years now. I always threaten to leave though :-) Best I got this year was £10 a month for 12 months.
  • Mr S.
    ^ James, sign up for 12 months and you can get the same minutes and texts for £12.50pm B)
  • Rob
    Don't forget that the '3' Call centres are known to offer 'deals' which don't exist & once you've renewed you get chucked onto a worse deal & they then refuse to deal with anything for you.
  • Branny
    As a current 3 customer, I cannot wait for my contract to expire in June. Absolutely awful network coverage for me which includes none in my own home (whilst full coverage on all other major networks.) No matter what deal I was offered I will still cancel. No amount of free line rental, texts or minutes are of much use when I cant get coverage.
  • Si W.
    on orange i was offered 200 mintues and unlimited text for £10 but i wanted data included then they offered for £15, but i refused then they reduced it to £10 then i asked what phone could i get as my upgrade.I was told that it would cost for a decent phone she offered me a nokia 5800 for free.selling it on ebay and keeping my unlocked and jailbroken iphone
  • Liddle m.
    @ Rob - never happened to me in a total of 18 (I think) contracts. I've always got what I was promised from 3, even when it seemed too good to be true.
  • James
    @ Mr Smith - Is that a high street deal or something I'll have to barter for over the phone? Can't see it on the Vodafone website. 12 months 600mins and unlimited texts seems to be £25...
  • Bob M.
    I'm on PAYG. I rule.
  • polak
    Been with o2 for 5 years.. in September they offered me lousy deals so i went on 600min/1000txt/data simplicity for £20/month (rolling 30 day contract, no phone). Anyway the Nokia E71 took my fancy, so I called them and asked just 2 weeks ago about upgrade options. Anyway after a lot of haggling I got the following: E71 (free) 600 mins / 1000 txt / unlimited data £20/month for 18 months. So I basically got a brand new £250 phone (see play, ebuyer, ebay for price confirmation) for nothing, as I was paying £20/mth for the same deal earlier on, albeit not tieing in for 18mths. I asked the analyst how come the offer was so good (after the bargaining), given that in Sept 08 they couldn't do me any deals. He just said that the credit crunch etc meant that their goal was now to guarantee cash flow for the next 18 mths so they're now better at offering deals.
  • gidz
    In October I had been with Vodafone for just a year. I managed to get an upgrade of: 12 month contract, C902 (High spec at the time), 900mins, unlimited texts, unlimited internet and email. All for just £25/month for 12 months which is £300 for the year - about the cost of the phone on its own! I thought that was pretty good at the time
  • SJT
    make sure you get what you were offered! They offered me a N96, 750m/unlimited txt for £25/month to stay. I told them I needed to think about it. The next day when I called the accept they claimed the deal never has and never will exist, and would only give me that for a one-off payment of £250 for the phone! contract expires in 9 days and counting.....
  • John
    im on Blyk. I get £15 a month for free.
  • Rancor K.
    for the past 3 years on 02 I have not upgraded my handset.. ( I jus buy old ones of my mates.. just got an N95 for £25... and had to buy a new cover ... ohh dear) I have 5000 txts and 500 minutes for £15 a month with free internet ! PLUS £100 account credit. for no new handset. so a frackin bargain if you ask me.. !! Total year cost assuming I dont go over my monthly budget.. ( which only happens If I go to the USA) £80 = £6.67 a month
  • J
    Renewed with O2 recently - I've got 1200 x-network minutes, 1000 text messages, unlimited web browsing, and the Sony X1 for free all for £27 a month (apparently the max discount they can give on their line rental is 40%, which is what they offered me) - Unfortunately is an 18 month contract, but didn't mind too much. Sold the X1 for £350 profit, so have paid off a few months line rental! It took a few calls, even had to get my PAC code, but it was worth the haggling in the end
  • David P.
    For the 3rd year running, CPW have offered me 600 xnet anytime minutes and 500 texts 12 months free on a 12 month contract via redemption. Always paid out (they've lost the occasional bill I've sent but always cough up in the end).
  • Joff
    I'd like to get out of my Orange contract because they don't have a competitive always-on data tariff, but the contract terms seem fairly water tight however... It states that if I misuse my mobile service or give away my account login details, then they'll cancel my account! That sounds easy enough - if anyone wants me to search the net for questionable photos and send to them by MMS let me know! My login details are...
  • Phil A.
    Got fed up of bad coverage at home on Three with my old W660i, so phoned up to cancel. After much haggling, they gave me a N95 8Gb on my existing £15 a month contract; 75 mins talk time and unlimited texts (am more of a texter). Luckily, coverage is fine, old phone must've been faulty. Oh, if I was a new customer on this same contract, I'd have to have paid around £300 for the handset. Result :-)
  • Thunderchump
    I get £15 a month for free from Blyk too! Plus my Motorola V3i Red that i got brand new for £25 from Tesco's that i have now had for about 12 months! Total cost per month £2.08.............And that gets less every month! Don't have to pay a penny out every month and i have never had to top up. My mates have all sorts of flash phones with 1 billion text and mins and data etc for £40 a month for 18 months (£720, thats a decent holiday!). Yet freely admit they never get close to using the allowance. Blyk FTW.
  • sarah
    Im on o2 and have just upgraded to a sony ericsson c905, 1000 mins, 1000 texts and unlimited web browsing, 18month contract £22.51 per month score!
  • MattS
    My phone company offered me a hand job on my older sister’s double bed while she was down the youth club. Thanks for telling everyone my secret ya b***ard.
  • LDR
    MattS - you should have asked for a RIM as well
  • Richy R.
    Best deal bar none! Orange: Unlimited Minutes, unlimited text, unlimited data but have to stick with a crappy phone £0.00 per month! How to get it? Just use your work phone and fuck the boss over 'cos she's to busy eating donuts to check the bill (stupid bitch) :-)
  • carol H.
    Retentions from 3 aye? Yeah..I've tried that. Contract up in December so rang up in January to cancel. I was insisting I didn't need a contract phone and was then offered 3 months free on the £9 a month deal. Ater confirming SEVERAL TIMES that this was the case I accepted it. First bill came yesterday - guess what? Charged £9, rang them and they insisted no such deal had been made. Am waiting for them to get back in touch, but hold little hope. So beware: "After much begging and pleading by the Retentions department, Three offered 10 months free line rental" may not be the bargain it appears.
  • Ben M.
    I am with O2 at the moment on a £25 per month contract that gives me 200 minutes, 400 texts, unlimited o2-o2 calls. I am within the last six months of my contract and received a call from a mobile contract broker who offered to pay off my existing contract which is currently costing me in excess of £100 due to excessive texting, they will provide me with a Nokia N95 8GB and a free memory card, with 750 minutes and unlimited texts for just £35 a month. This is a fantastic deal.

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