When mobile phone contract prices rise (and by how much)

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When mobile phone contract prices rise (and by how much)

Did you know that most phone contracts increase every year? The mobile phone networks in the UK will all bump up prices for their customers (even if it’s just a little bit) annually, regardless of whether you’ve been a customer for months or years.

In this brief guide, we’re going to take away all the surprise so you can prepare for when your phone contract price will increase and how much it will increase by. Importantly, we’ve also got some advice for you if you decide to leave your phone contract because of the price increase – keep reading to find out what you should do.

How much do mobile phone contracts increase by?

First of all, don’t worry about these price changes being too much or too sudden. There’s regulation in place for networks to ensure that they cannot make huge mid-contract price increases, and they must give you plenty of notice before the increase happens.

Most major phone networks in the UK increase prices once a year, usually around April but not always, and in-line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the Retail Price Index (RPI).

Put simply, this is the index used to track inflation – the rate at which price changes increase. It’s usually up to 2% per year.

While networks don’t stray too far from these figures, they do add their own percentage increases on top. Below we’ve listed the price increases from the most popular mobile networks in the UK.

Vodafone

When: April each year.

How Much: an increase in line with the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation, published in January of that year, plus a further 3.9%.

Vodafone increase their prices to invest in new products, services, and networks. This applies to all phone contracts that began after 9th December 2020. If you signed up before May 2016, you have got a Fixed Price Promise, so you’ll be exempt from these increases. Check out https://www.vodafone.co.uk/pricechanges for more info.

EE

When: 31st March each year.

How Much: an increase in line with the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation, published in January of that year, plus a further 3.9%.

Like Vodafone, EE follows the CPI and adds an additional 3.9% on top of that. This applies to your monthly contract price, add ons, and bundle charges, including EE broadband and TV plans. You can read the full Ts and CS at ee.co.uk/increase

Three

When: May each year.

How Much: an increase in line with the Retail Price Index of inflation, published in February of that year.

Three don’t charge an additional percentage besides the RPI increase of that year. If the RPI decreases, instead of increasing, your contract price won’t change either.

BT

When: 31st March each year.

How Much: an increase in line with the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation, published in January of that year, plus a further 3.9%.

BT follow Vodafone and EE’s lead, using the CPI and an additional 3.9% to bump contracts each year in line with inflation.

Sky Mobile

When: at any time, even during a fixed term contract.

How Much: varies, depending on what the price increase is for.

Sky Mobile don’t use annual automatic price increases. Instead, they can choose to increase charges when they need to. If they do this for your contract, you can cancel without an early termination charge.

O2

When: April each year.

How Much: an increase in line with the Retail Price Index of inflation, published in February of that year.

This applies to all pay monthly airtime tariffs with O2. This network doesn’t charge an additional fee besides the natural increase of inflation.

iD Mobile

When: April each year.

How Much: an increase in line with the Retail Price Index of inflation, published in February of that year.

iD Mobile increase prices with the RPI each year, without charging an additional amount. This applies to all upgraded or new plans made after 1st March 2018. Out-of-bundle charges are exempt from this annual price increase.

TalkTalk Mobile

When: April each year (starting 2022).

How Much: an increase in line with the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation, published in January of that year, plus a further 3.7%.

For TalkTalk standard plans, including Fast Broadband, the annual price increase will be in line with the CPI plus 3.7%, which is slightly lower than most other networks charging an additional increase.

What to do when they hike up the prices

In most cases, the annual price increases aren’t too high, and most people can handle them comfortably.

For example, a 4% increase on a standard £40 per month contract is only £1.60 extra per month.

If you can’t afford the price increase or you just want to find a better deal, you have a few options depending on the contract you have.

If you’re locked into a contract: your best option is to just ride it out, then leave your contract as soon as it’s up. If you really want to get out of it, you can leave early and pay any applicable termination fees. You’re then free to change your phone to a cheaper network or sign up for a SIM-only deal.

If your contract has ended: you can leave at any time. Move to a new network, get a new phone and contract, or switch to a new SIM-only deal.. To find out how to transfer while keeping your phone number, try our helpful guide.

It’s never pleasant when your phone network decides to increase your bills, but luckily, it’s really easy to switch and find a better mobile phone deal.