10/23/2008 10:03:00 AM
O2 and T-Mobile block upgrades until January
O2 and T-Mobile are telling customers to wait up to three months for their upgrades in a bid to save cash.
The parent companies of both networks – Telefónica and Deutsche Telekom respectively – appear to be looking to pull cash out of the UK businesses.
Since Monday 13 October, O2 customers wishing to upgrade are being assuaged with a £15-per-month discount on their monthly bill if they hold out on upgrades until January (after the financial year).
Manufacturers have had to review their sales forecasts at O2 in light of the drive for ‘non-hardware’ contract sales between now and Christmas.
Dealers have similar frustrations, and have said that they have no option but to churn O2 customers on to other networks.
Jonathan Earle, O2’s head of consumer postpay acquisitions, said: ‘The enormous success of our simplicity tariff has shown us that some customers are happy with their existing handsets and would rather take an option that allows them to save money, particularly in these credit crunch days.’
O2 only has real appetite for three mobile products: 3G iPhone, Sim-only, and mobile broadband. The latter two incur no major up-front cost for the operator, while achieving high iPhone sales is critical for O2 to secure further exclusivity with Apple.
O2’s advertising is understood to focus largely on Sim-only deals and broadband between now and Christmas with little to no promotions for contract handsets.
Meanwhile, T-Mobile is understood to be offering customers a similar deal if they wait until January for their upgrade, but is offering a £5 discount off bills instead of £15. It is a familiar story for all connected with T-Mobile, as the operator has seen its acquisition budget drained as it approaches the final three months of the financial quarter for the last three years.