T-Mobile launches “You Fix” 12-month Pay Monthly contracts with capped spending

August 1st, 2011

T-Mobile have launched a new range of 12-month “You Fix” contracts claiming to combine the value of Pay Monthly with the “spend control” of Pay As You Go.

T-Mobile have today launched the “You Fix” tariff range – a 12-month Pay Monthly contract with a fixed monthly payment and where you’ll need to top up once you’ve exceeded your monthly airtime allowance. T-Mobile claim that “You Fix” is ideal for teenagers as it combines the low costs of Pay Monthly whilst giving parents (or the bill payer) “the peace of mind that they’ll never pay more than they expect”. In this article, we explore the “You Fix” plan and find out how it compares to the rest of the market.

What is T-Mobile’s “You Fix” tariff?

“You Fix” is a range of Pay Monthly contracts from T-Mobile. “You Fix” tariffs are 12-months long and have a fixed monthly payment: you’re prevented from running up extra charges outside of your airtime allowance so your monthly bill will always be the same.

Once you’ve used up your monthly allowance of minutes and texts, you’ll need to top up (in the same way as on Pay As You Go) to continue using your phone for the rest of the month. With a fixed monthly payment, T-Mobile are advertising the key benefit of “You Fix” as the fact it’ll stop you from unwittingly running up an unexpectedly large bill at the end of the month.

How much does it cost?

T-Mobile’s “You Fix” tariff stops you from running up unexpected charges outside of your airtime allowance.

“You Fix” tariffs are available at 3 price points, all of which come on a 12-month contract. All tariffs come with a free flexible booster such as unlimited texts or 500MB internet.

Monthly Price Minutes Texts Extras
£15.50/month 75 75 Free flexible booster
£20.50/month 100 100 Free flexible booster
£26.00/month 300 300 Free flexible booster

Unless you opt for a free handset, you’ll also need to add an upfront payment for your phone. We’re rather disappointing with the choice of free handsets on “You Fix”: the ultra-cheap Nokia C2-01 being the only free phone available on the £15.50/month and £20.50/month “You Fix” plans. The £26/month plan offers a choice of 4 free phones but still nothing particularly impressive: the BlackBerry Curve 8520, Nokia C2-01, Samsung Monte and Sony Ericsson Xperia X8.

There are a selection of handsets you can choose if you pay upfront for them – however we’re rather disappointed with the choice of handsets and the associated costs. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Ace is available for free on a £15/month contract from Three; yet there’s an upfront charge of £85 on T-Mobile “You Fix” plan even when you’re paying £26/month on your contract.

What happens when I use up all of my airtime?

Once you’ve used up your inclusive monthly allowance, you’ll need to top-up (in the same way as you would on Pay As You Go) to continue making calls or sending texts. Unfortunately, the costs of doing this are fairly high and are higher than T-Mobile’s standard Pay As You Go rates.

T-Mobile “You Fix” T-Mobile Standard “Pay As You Go”
Standard calls 30.6p/min 25p/min
Text messages 12.3p per message 10p per message
Picture Message (MMS) 20.4p per message 30p per message
Voicemail 12.3p/minute 20p/min
Internet £1.02 per day £1 per day

The minimum top-up amount on “You Fix” is £1. This contrasts with the minimum top-up of £5 on T-Mobile’s standard Pay As You Go tariff.

How does “You Fix” compare to the rest of the market?

T-Mobile’s “You Fix” tariffs come with a free Nokia C2-01.

“You Fix” tariffs are exceptionally expensive when compared to Pay Monthly tariffs on rival networks which don’t include the fixed monthly cost feature.

As a side-by-side comparison, take T-Mobile’s £15.50/month “You Fix” tariff and Three’s £15/month “Text 500” tariffs as a comparison. Both offer the tariff with a free Nokia C2-01 phone. As well as being 50p/month cheaper, Three’s tariff offers 6x as many minutes and 66x as many texts (albeit with a 24 month contract rather than 12 month contract).

Although it’s possible to run up extra charges for exceeding your allowance on Three’s “Text 500” tariff, the much larger airtime allowances should provide a buffer against this. For somebody who uses an average of 75 minutes per month, it should be near-impossible to exceed 500 minutes in a month. With the punitive out-of-allowance charges, Three’s tariff will almost definitely work out better value in the long run.

At the £25/month price point, Three offers a tariff called “The One Plan” which comes with 2000 cross-network minutes, 5000 Three-to-Three minutes, 5000 texts and all-you-can-eat internet with no download limits and free tethering. There is also a much larger choice of free handsets including the HTC Wildfire S and the LG Optimus One. Again, Three’s tariff doesn’t provide any protection against excess charges for going over your airtime allowance but the massive airtime allowances mean this should never happen.

T-Mobile’s “You Fix” tariff Three’s “The One Plan” tariff
£26/month300 minutes
300 texts
Flexible booster
12 month contract

Monthly bill capped at £26/month.

More info »

£25/month2,000 minutes & 5,000 Three-to-Three minutes
5,000 texts
1GB internet
24 month contract

Monthly bill not capped but unlikely to exceed allowance anyway.

More info »

Another approach to reducing unexpected bills: Three’s “The One Plan” has more minutes, texts and internet than you’d know what to do with.

On the Pay As You Go front, there are ways of getting great value for money whilst keeping control over your spending by using bolt-on tariffs such as Giffgaff Goodybags, O2 Simplicity or Three’s “All in One” tariffs. Giffgaff’s £10 goodybag gives you 250 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited internet for £10/month. Once you’ve exceeded your allowance of 250 minutes, you simply pay as you go with calls costing 8p/minute (get a free Giffgaff SIM card). Note that unlike “You Fix”, these tariffs don’t include a free phone so you’ll need to provide your own.

What’s the verdict on T-Mobile’s “You Fix”?

T-Mobile claim that their “You Fix” tariff bridges Pay Monthly and Pay As You Go by providing the value of the former and the spend control of the latter. In our view, “You Fix” provides the benefits of neither: the tariff comes with incredibly disappointing airtime allowances and punitive out-of-allowance call rates once you’ve used up your airtime allowance.

We believe you’d much better off with a standard Pay Monthly contract or a standard Pay As You Go tariff from companies such as Three and Giffgaff. The former offers much larger airtime allowances (meaning that exceeding your airtime allowance shouldn’t be a problem anyway) whilst the latter offers much lower PAYG calling rates once you’ve exceeded your inclusive airtime allowance.

Where can I get a T-Mobile “You Fix” plan?

“You Fix” is available through the T-Mobile website.

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About Ken

Ken Lo

My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.

Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.

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