The Full Monty VS The One Plan – Prices, Networks & Handsets Compared

February 4th, 2012

T-Mobile’s new tariff “The Full Monty” aims to take on Three’s flagship plan “The One Plan”. We compare the prices of the two tariffs and networks behind them.

February has only just begun and it’s already turned out to be an eventful one for the mobile industry here in the UK. In response to Three’s The One Plan which has offered unlimited all-you-can-eat data with inclusive tethering since the start of 2011, T-Mobile have just launched their new plan ‘The Full Monty’. Like The One Plan, The Full Monty also comes with unlimited data and free tethering. In this article, we’ll put the spotlight on both ‘The Full Monty’ and ‘The One Plan’. We’ll find out how they compare in terms of the prices of their tariffs, the phones available and the coverage and download speeds you can expect from them.

How do ‘The Full Monty’ and ‘The One Plan’ compare in terms of tariff features?

In terms of the basic features of The Full Monty and The One Plan, the two tariffs are incredibly similar. Both tariffs are essentially marketed as “unlimited everything” tariffs: pay a flat-rate each month and you shouldn’t have to worry about being any additional costs for spending too long on the phone or for browsing too many web pages. The One Plan offers greater choice and flexibility with their one-month rolling SIM only version of the tariff as well as featuring a selection of phones available from £25/month. The Full Monty starts from £36/month and is only available as a 24 month plan.

With regards to the number of minutes and texts, The Full Monty wins on a side-by-side comparison with The One Plan. Whilst The One Plan comes with 2,000 minutes and 5,000 texts, they are unlimited on The Full Monty. However, we feel that most people are unlikely to ever reach The One Plan’s limits of 2,000 minutes and 5,000 texts as it would correspond to making 67 minutes of outgoing phone calls and sending 167 text messages every day. For this reason, we feel the comparison is mainly academic and is unlikely to matter to end users.

The Full Monty (T-Mobile) The One Plan (Three)
Network T-Mobile Three
Contract Length 24 month contract with new phone
No SIM free version available
24 month contract with new phone
OR 1 month SIM-only contract
Price From £36/month From £25/month
Minutes 2,000 cross-network minutes (£36/month)
unlimited minutes (from £41/month)
2,000 cross-network minutes
Same-network minutes Unlimited T-Mobile to T-Mobile minutes* 5,000 Three-to-Three minutes*
Texts Unlimited 5,000
Internet Unlimited
No fair usage limits
Unlimited (all-you-can-eat)
No fair usage limits
Download Speed Up to 21Mbit/s with HSPA+
Unknown coverage
Up to 21Mbit/s with HSPA+
80% UK coverage
Tethering Yes, included Yes, included
Voicemail Essentially free (part of minutes allowance) Free
BT Openzone Wi-Fi Unlimited Not included

* The approximate market share of T-Mobile is 19% whereas the approximate market share of Three is 7%. On the face of it, this would make unlimited calls to T-Mobile numbers a much better proposition than unlimited calls to Three numbers. However, the high number of inclusive minutes on both plans means this is unlikely to make very much difference.

What out-of-plan costs could be incurred on ‘The Full Monty’ and ‘The One Plan’?

Both plans cover the cost of calls, texts and browsing in the UK as well as tethering and voicemail. Other costs such as calls to special phone numbers, picture messages (MMS), calls and texts to international numbers and roaming (using your phone abroad) will be billed separately as “out of plan” costs. These “out of plan” costs compare as follows:

The Full Monty (T-Mobile) The One Plan (Three)
Calls to 0800 numbers 40p per minute 15.3p per minute
Calls to 0845/0870 numbers 40p per minute 20.4p per minute
Picture Messages (MMS) 30p per picture message 25p per picture message
International calls Varies by country: check prices Varies by country: check prices
International texts 20.4p per text message 25.5p per text message
Using your phone abroad (roaming) Varies by country: check prices Varies by country: check prices

What handsets are available on ‘The Full Monty’ and ‘The One Plan’? How do their prices compare?

Both plans have a good selection of handsets, with The One Plan being cheaper in most cases. This is particularly significant for low-range and mid-range phones such as the Apple iPhone 3G S, Apple iPhone 4 or the HTC Wildfire S. The One Plan also stands out by offering a SIM only version of the tariff on a 30-day rolling contract for £25/month. This is ideal for anyone who already has a smartphone that they’re happy to keep, and allows you to get a plan with all-you-can-eat data without a 24 month commitment.

The Full Monty (T-Mobile) The One Plan (Three)
SIM Only Not available £25/month (30-day rolling contract)
Apple iPhone 4S (16GB) £99 plus £36/month £99 plus £35/month
£24 cheaper over 24 months
Apple iPhone 4S (32GB) £199 plus £36/month £149 plus £35/month
£74 cheaper over 24 months
Apple iPhone 4S (64GB) £269 plus £36/month £279 plus £35/month
£14 cheaper over 24 months
Apple iPhone 4 (8GB) £36/month £99 plus £30/month
£45 cheaper over 24 months
Apple iPhone 3G S (8GB) £36/month £30/month
£144 cheaper over 24 months
Samsung Galaxy S II £36/month £35/month
£24 cheaper over 24 months
BlackBerry Bold 9900 Touch £50 plus £36/month
£46 cheaper over 24 months
HTC Sensation XE £36/month
£24 cheaper over 24 months
HTC Wildfire S £36/month £25/month
£264 cheaper over 24 months
Nokia Lumia 800 £36/month £34/month
£48 cheaper over 24 months
Samsung Galaxy Ace £36/month £27/month
£216 cheaper over 24 months
Other View full list of available phones View full list of available phones

How do coverage and download speeds compare?

Both T-Mobile and Three provide good signal quality and coverage cross the UK. Whilst T-Mobile’s network uses both 2G and 3G technologies, Three’s network only uses third-generation 3G technologies. The benefit of Three’s approach is that you’ll experience faster and more reliable downloads in more places but the downside being that coverage is poorer. Three claims to offer coverage to 97% of the population whereas T-Mobile claims 99% of the UK population.

Both The Full Monty and The One Plan offer download speeds up to 21Mbit/s if your local mast is HSPA+ enabled and you have a HSPA+ capable devices. HSPA+ capable devices include the Samsung Galaxy S II. The Apple iPhone 4S supports HSPA+ speeds up to 14Mbit/s. Older 3G-capable devices with HSDPA technology can offer download speeds up to 7.2Mbit/s. These speeds are all theoretical limits however – typical download speeds are closer to 4Mbit/s on HSPA+ and 1.5Mbit/s on HSDPA.

Three and T-Mobile share many of their 3G masts through the MBNL joint venture so coverage quality should be similar for both networks across much of the UK (download speeds may differ however).

The Full Monty (T-Mobile) The One Plan (Three)
Network Type 2G & 3G (GSM 1800, WCDMA 2100)
Roaming on the Orange network
3G only (WCDMA 2100)
2G roaming removed in Jan 2011
Download Speed Up to 21Mbit/s Up to 21Mbit/s
HSPA+ support Yes but HSPA+ rollout unknown Yes, approx 80% of network HSPA+ enabled
Advertised Coverage 99% of UK population 97% of UK population
Coverage Map See T-Mobile coverage map See Three coverage map

Are there download speed limits on ‘The Full Monty’?

T-Mobile previously stated on their Twitter account that The Full Monty had an artificial speed limit of 1Mbit/s. As of 4th February, T-Mobile said this was incorrect and that there are no download speed limits on ‘The Full Monty’ – you’ll get the maximum download speed possible.

I’m switching to either ‘The Full Monty’ or ‘The One Plan’. Can I keep my existing phone number?

Yes. You can keep your existing phone number when switching to either tariff – both of them will allow you to keep your existing phone number. In order to keep your existing phone number, you’ll need to ask your current mobile network for a PAC Code. This is a 9-digit code which will authorise T-Mobile or Three to transfer your current mobile phone number to your new mobile phone. The entire process of transferring your phone number takes no more than 24 hours. Our PAC Code Finder can walk you through the whole process.

Where can I find out more about ‘The Full Monty’ or ‘The One Plan’?

You can find out more about ‘The Full Monty’ at the T-Mobile website and more about ‘The One Plan’ at the Three website. We also have in-depth reviews of The Full Monty and The One Plan on this 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.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 2 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. peter walton said:

    Although 3 say tethering is include it isn’t because 3 use t mobile masts tethereing isn’t strictly allowed its common that for a few months u will get away with it but sooner rather than later u will be stopped I really do not know why 3 have nit been pulled on thus by Ofcom and also I have been on both tarrifs with same phone in same area and t mobile coverage is so much better and the internet works better on t mobile despite 3s claims I should have “perfect” signal

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Peter,

      T-Mobile and 3 share some of their masts/physical sites through the MBNL joint venture: though the mast is actually broadcasting two different networks/signals. Hence speeds may vary depending on the number of people sharing the signal on your network, etc. Tethering *is* permitted on The One Plan, as is on The Full Monty.


  2. @HarrowingLife said:

    I wonder how this would compare to ThreeUK under my testing methods.

    For my testing I send a HSPA+ Dongle and SIM to a VMWare Machine and make it use a repeating HTTPS download (8 threads from my own Dedicated Server) for 7 days and used Networx to monitor throughput.

    If anyone will be getting on of these SIM's, it would be great to see the above test done. (On Three UK, I used 540GB on this test!)

  3. Ken Lo
    Ken said:

    Post has been updated again – T-Mobile now state there isn't a speed limit of 1Mbit/s.!/TMobileUKhelp/status/165771901053050880

  4. Russell said:

    Yep that's right jTemplar they also said this to me on a DM! 1mbps is really poor!

    Why T-Mobile WHY not mention the speed caps on your website????

  5. jTemplar said:

    According to T-Mobile’s Twitter feed, The Full Monty has a speed cap of 1Mb/s compared to Three’s up to 21Mbps if your phone supports it.


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