UPDATED: T-Mobile Unveils ‘MyFaves’ Community Tariff

For those who like to talk to their closest friends A LOT. (Now with info from a Q&A session with T-Mobile Brand Manager Marc Weppler)

T-Mobile is trying ”hard” right now. In the last month it has added Sim-only monthly deals and Pay-per-day broadband and now it thinks it has found another neglected niche…

According to the network’s research, Brits make almost 60 per cent of their monthly calls to an inner circle of just five people or less – clearly these are the main people in our lives so why not let us talk longer?

The solution, T-Mobile hopes, is ‘MyFaves’: a price place which offers the appealing prospect of unlimited calls, texts and picture messages to five key people – regardless of their network.

Showing its commitment to the concept, T-Mobile is also launching handsets with customised interfaces that display your so-called ‘Top 5’ – giving you quick access for contacting them. I have some reservations that a phone’s home screen may be better served linking to contacts, alarms, calculators, music and such like but that probably makes me a techno-purist. For those interested, the proprietary home screen will be available on Samsung’s U600 and D900i, Nokia’s 6300 and Sony Ericsson’s K770 and W880.

Three packages will be available when the tariff launches on 1 November: MyFaves 25, 35 and 40 (referring to their monthly prices). On top of each one’s ‘unlimited’ Top 5 contact (it is subject to an unknown ‘fair usage policy’… I’ll find out for you) they will provide 25 minutes and 50 texts, 100 minutes and 200 texts and 200 minutes and 400 texts respectively.

Of course these allowances don’t compare particularly favourably to its standard Flext packages (Flext 30 currently costs £25pm and offers up to 900 minutes talk time) but if you do love to talk specifically to a close knit group of friends MyFaves will serve you better.

Just be careful who makes your Top 5 – once they know they’re on ”’a)”’ you can’t hide and ”’b)”’ you can’t ever admit to dropping them from it… So choose carefully my minions.

”’Update 29/10/07 2.45pm:”’

I said I’d be back and here are the rather interesting results of my Q&A with Marc Weppler, T-Mobile Brand Manager of New Product Development.

*’Unlimited’ really does refer to unlimited. I gave the exorbitant example of 3,000 minutes and 2,000 texts every month to the same contact and this isn’t a problem. The fair usage policy is aimed primarily to catch businesses exploiting the service and sim boxes.

*The interface is collapsible and can be hidden to reveal the standard handset home page – good for both privacy and functionality.

*The customised phones themselves are a prerequisite for the service. In what I believe to be an industry first, each handset has a specific network identity which allows them to process these unlimited calls.

*Each Top 5 number can be changed once every calendar month.

*All contracts are 18 months

*Roaming charges remain for Top 5 contacts.

*Existing T-Mobile customers can swap from their contracts to a MyFaves plan as long as there isn’t a substantial price drop from their current plan though a MyFaves enabled phone must also be bought separately.

*More MyFaves enabled handsets can be expected in the future.

Press Release