T-Mobile UK was previously known as One 2 One, and before that as Mercury One 2 One. One 2 One was in its final days operated as a joint venture between Cable and Wireless and American cable provider Mediaone Group, which had a number of investments in Britain dating back to its days as the US West Media Group. One 2 One was the world’s first GSM 1800 network when it launched in September 1993. T-Mobile offers both pay-as-you-go and pay-monthly contract phones. The pay-monthly contracts are branded as Flext for both 18 month and 12 month contract customers as of February 2007; T-Mobile’s 12 month contracts were previously branded as Relax. The network also offers other contract options for off-peak users and customers who call within network predominantly. T-Mobile launched their 3G UMTS services in the Autumn of 2003.
For a long time the smallest of Britain’s four GSM operators, T-Mobile has overtaken Orange UK and, with over 19.2 million subscribers, has the third largest user base behind market leader O2 and Vodafone, due in part to the mobile virtual network operators using T-Mobile’s infrastructure.
As of 1 November 2007 T-Mobile UK is launching a UK version of the My Faves Tariff similar to that used by T-Mobile USA. As of 1st May 2008 the pay monthly tariffs available on T-Mobile UK are Flext (flexible allowances), Combi (fixed allowances), Solo (SIM only with fixed allowances), U-Fix (Fixed allowances then PAYG) and My Faves.
On 12 December 2007, it was confirmed that a merger of the high-speed 3G and HSDPA networks operated by T-Mobile UK and 3 (UK) was to take place starting January 2008. This will leave T-Mobile and 3 with the largest HSDPA mobile phone network in the country, with a theoretical maximum speed of 6.5 MB/s, rising to 7.2 MB/s over the course of the year. The merger does not mean that 3 and T-Mobile are merging as companies, only that their 3G and HSDPA networks will be combined. The merger has also led to a series of mobile broadband packages. Some users have noted reduced speed levels of the mobile broadband service, sometimes as low as 150kb/s during extremely congested periods, however these problems are not widespread, and most customers correctly connected to the HSDPA or HSUPA service typically experience downlink speeds of around 1-1.5mb/s.
T-Mobile UK has just been voted the best mobile broadband in the UK, Times, with no run over charging, and the only network to include VAT on all its tarrifs.