Millions of EE mobile phone customers will see their bills rise by 4.1 per cent from next month, it revealed today.
The telecoms giant is pushing up prices in line with the December Retail Prices Index measure of inflation from 30 March 2018.
Customers with a pay monthly mobile or mobile broadband contract who joined EE or upgraded after 26 March 2014 will be affected.
Price hike: All EE pay-monthly mobile and mobile broadband customers will see a 4.1% rise from 30 March
The exact increase will depend on the amount the customer is paying monthly but someone paying £30 a month, for example, can expect to see a £15 per year increase, while for someone paying £40 a month their bill will rise by £20 annually.
The provider is allowed to increase its prices in line with inflation according to Ofcom rules – if the rise is written into the terms and conditions of these contracts, which it is.
Customers unhappy with the rise will not be able to leave without paying a penalty charge if they are still in the minimum term of their contract.
In some instances customers may be able to upgrade their handset early.
But those who are not within the minimum term are free to leave the provider, and will need to give it 30 days notice.
Those who are free to leave are likely to find a better deal by switching providers given that the cheapest prices are usually reserved for new customers.
The provider said on Twitter: ‘Our pay monthly plans are subject to annual price reviews to reflect the RPI.
‘We want you to stay with us but if you do leave, there may be a charge to cancel if you’re within the minimum contract term.’
EE says the rise will go towards measures such as ‘continuing to invest in the network, providing 4G in more places than any other network, providing great customer service, improved support through the My EE app and other benefits such as six months of free Apple music to customers.’
Mobile phone providers are allowed to increase prices in line with the rate of inflation
Customers have responded angrily on Twitter:
A spokesperson from EE said: ‘We go further every day to provide our customers with the UK’s best mobile network and great customer service, with 4G coverage in more places than any other operator.
‘Like many service providers, our Pay Monthly plans increase by RPI annually, and this year customers on our most popular plan will typically see an increase of 85p a month.
‘We’re currently contacting our customers to remind them this will take effect from 30th March 2018.’
EE is the first mobile provider to announce a price hike in 2018 but it’s likely the other big providers will follow suit.
Last year all the major providers increased prices around the same time.
EE announced a price hike of 2.5 per cent on 30 March 2017, O2 and Vodafone hiked prices by 2.6 per cent and 3.2 per cent respectively last April.
Three customers also saw their price rise by 2.6 per cent last May.
Vix Leyton, spokesperson for Broadbandchoices.co.uk says: ‘This type of price rise is hugely frustrating for mobile phone customers, and it is now – unfortunately – fairly standard practice across the networks to include this in the Ts and Cs so there is no easy recourse if it becomes unaffordable.
‘With the cost of contracts spiralling in line with the increasing cost of handsets, even a small percentage increase can have a big impact.
‘For those who are trapped in their minimum term who are unhappy then it is worth doing the maths of the total cost for the increase over the life of the contract and then weighing that up against the cost of buying themselves out and starting fresh, which might not be as unaffordable as it sounds.’
|Provider||Data/ calls/ texts package||Monthly cost||Contract length||Total contract cost||Free gift|
|Three||12GB/ unlimited/ unlimited||£14.00||12 months||£168.00||Gobinge – free streaming|
|Virgin mobile||5GB/ 5000/ unlimited||£9.00||12 months||£108.00|
|Smarty mobile||2GB/ unlimited/ unlimited||£7.50||1 month||£7.50||Discount on unused data|
|giffgaff||4GB/ 750/ unlimited||£12.00||1 month||£12.00|
|Vodafone||20GB/ unlimited/ unlimited||£20.00||12 month||£240.00|
|Source: Broadband choices|
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