Four of the largest mobile operators in the UK have all announced that they will be raising prices in mid-contract.
The increases will be determined from current rates of inflation which are derived from the Retail Price Index (RPI).
The RPI is published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) every month and it monitors the price of goods and services compared with that month in the prior year. Inflation currently sits at 4% which dropped slightly from 4.1% in December 2017.
EE always raises prices in March and unfortunately for EE customers 2018 will be no exception with the operator saying they will be increasing monthly costs by 4.1% (in line with RPI figures in December). The only EE customers who are exempt from the rising prices are new customers who joined after the 6th of Feb 2018 and those on pay as you go.
O2 has announced that they will be increasing prices by 4% from April this year unless you opened a new contract or upgraded your handset with them later than the 13th of February 2018. There may also be a price increase for international calls or calls outside of your agreed contract. Vodafone confirmed that they will be following suit but have not specified exactly how much the increase will be although it is expected it will be similar to their competitors. Three made a similar statement and is likewise expected to raise prices in line with the RPI figures.
Ofcom states that if your contract increases in cost mid-contract then you may be given the option of changing provider without having to pay off your contract. The only stipulation to this is if the rise of prices is due to increasing inflation which is now commonplace among mobile providers.
Vix Leyton from Broadband Choices suggested that customers should, when possible, opt for sim only contracts as these offer more flexibility and are exempt from mid-contract price increase.
“This is a hugely frustrating situation for anyone on a budget as even small percentage rises can stack costs on. You can exit your contract early, but there is typically a penalty so it is worth doing the maths on how much the rise will impact you and whether it is worth cutting your losses and starting fresh,” she said.
“When it comes to renewal time, ensure that you have factored this into the price of any contract you choose, shop around for the best deal, and weigh up whether a long term contract is the most suitable or if there are options in the Sim-only space that offer you significantly more flexibility in the event of price rises.”
If you have found yourself in a situation where your contract has been increased and you’re not sure if you can afford it there a few steps you can take.
- Speak your mobile operator and see what options are available to you
- If you’re at the tail end of your contract it might be worth paying it off as you get a better rate than if you pay monthly and it allows you to find a better deal elsewhere
- Find out if you received warning of a mid-contract price increase, if you didn’t they you may be able to leave without paying a penalty fee