The call to action comes after Ofcom announced plans to ban mid-contract price rises late last year
According to research from Which?, many mobile and broadband customers are set to face major price hikes this April, with the alternative being to face large fees to exit their contract.
As part of their mission to provide financial clarity for mobile and broadband customers, Which? analysed the mobile industry market data to better understand the impact of the price rises on customers. It found that, of all the mobile providers using CPI (Consumer Prices Index) as a foundation for their price increases, EE, Three, and Vodafone are all increasing their prices by 7.9% this year, costing customers up to an additional £27.36 per year.
In terms of broadband, the average BT customer will have the biggest price increase, up by 7.9% and increasing their bills by up to £35.92 per year.
“We think it is unconscionable that broadband and mobile providers are still planning to go ahead with this year’s inflation-linked price rises, which will impact millions of people, even after the regulator declared this practice causes substantial consumer harm and proposed a ban,” Which? said on its website.
“It’s outrageous that telecoms firms could yet again trap their customers between inflation-busting price hikes and punitive exit fees this April, despite Ofcom declaring this practice causes substantial consumer harm,” said Rocio Concha, Which? Director of Policy and Advocacy.
“Telecoms providers must do the right thing by halting unfair price hikes immediately, rather than piling more misery on their customers.”
Find the full Which? analysis here.
Back in December, Ofcom announced their proposal to ban inflation-linked mid-contract price rises to give customers more transparency regarding their future bills. Their research found that, as of April last year, four in ten broadband customers and over half of mobile customers were on contracts that were subject to inflation-linked price rises. Despite this, awareness of what this actually meant was staggeringly low; 55% of broadband customers and 58% of pay monthly mobile customers did not understand what inflation rates like CPI and RPI (Retail Prices Index) measure, and therefore do not fully understand how price increases are calculated.
Ofcom concluded that the price rises cause “substantial amounts of consumer harm” and proposed the rule change.
A period of consultation is currently underway, and the results are to be published in Spring.
Keep up to date with the latest international telecoms news by subscribing to the Total Telecom daily newsletter
Also in the news:
EE dominates RootMetrics benchmarking study but loses 5G crown to Three
FCC updates spectrum rules to facilitate broadband access on ships and aircraft
UK government strikes deal with Vodafone over e& security concerns