T-Mobile is trying to halt upgrades as pressure mounts on the acquisition team’s budget with its financial year coming to a close.
It is believed that T-Mobile told dealers, distributors and multiple retailers to keep new connections and even upgrades on hold until the end of December.
The message has been to keep customers on their contracts for another six months with the sweetener of a £10 discount off their monthly line rental.
Customers are not locked into the six months and can cancel at any time. The network will continue upgrades as normal in January.
A distribution source said that T-Mobile had ‘pretty much said that to everybody’. He added: ‘They have got no acquisition budget at the moment and they will have to wait until January. It’s a bit frustrating for us. We don’t want to just turn business on and off... What I think they will do is kick-start it with the MyFaves deal and they will put all the direct deals back into the channel and reignite it from January.’
Dealers are also frustrated with the upgrade situation. One dealer said: ‘For us, it is annoying because it puts off until January sales that we would do now.’
Some retailers say it will precipitate a tide of churn from T-Mobile onto other networks by customers keen to get a new handset before Christmas.
T-Mobile has performed solidly this year after 2006’s blistering performance with almost one million new customers signing up to Flext.
Analysts are expecting around 100,00 net new customers for the fourth quarter on top of the 219,000 added in the first nine months.