T-Mobile store managers were informed at a meeting late last month to drive new business through the Christmas period as T-Mobile is down on targets.
However T-Mobile is taking away customer incentives and staff tools to persuade new subscribers to join the network.
T-Mobile has removed staff power to offer discretionary discounts on high-end devices.
The Samsung Omnia and Nokia N96 can no longer be discounted by staff at all, and all other handsets are subject only to discounts of up to £45 on contract.
Area managers could previously discount handsets to any amount on new contracts.
Staff claimed they were struggling to hit store targets as a result.
At the same time, staff pay has stabilised as T-Mobile has put extra money behind its new store upgrade policy to dissuade customers to take out heavily-subsidised handsets.
Its ‘Christmas Bonus Scheme’ rewards staff with £4 commission for every customer they persuade to take a £10 cut in their line rental until the New Year, instead of taking a new handset on a contract upgrade immediately.
Staff get a £2 payment for the latter, as they do for a new contract connection.
Staff said the move by T-Mobile is to reduce the number of upgrading customers taking new handsets over Christmas, and limiting supply for new customers until after the year-end finances are filed, and T-Mobile’s acquisition budget is renewed.
Overall, T-Mobile has increased business by six per cent this year, compared with 2007, T-Mobile UK head of sales Neil Pickersgill told store managers last week, although it is still short of 2008 targets.
T-Mobile admitted the moves were down to budgetry constraints through Q4.
A T-Mobile spokesperson said: “T-Mobile has reviewed its customer retention programme for the fourth quarter of 2008, with an emphasis on providing customers whose contracts are due for renewal significant savings in the form of airtime discounts and loyalty bonuses.
“We believe that in the current economic climate , most customers will welcome the opportunity to make savings on their monthly bills.
All customers retain the choice to upgrade their handsets during Q4, but following a review of the eligibility criteria for mobile phone upgrades, some customers will be subject to reduced entitlements.
“The availability of seasonal discounts on our market-leading plans has proved popular in the past and we believe meets most customers’ desire for more affordable mobile communications.”