EE, ‘the new network for your digital life’, has announced a price rise for Orange and T-Mobile customers locked into fixed monthly plans. It might be a new network, but it’s the same old story.
Citing ‘rising business costs’ EE is increasing prices by 3.3% for its Orange and T-Mobile customers. We estimate this will add 79p a month to a typical fixed mobile contract, meaning customers will collectively pay almost £52m extra per year due to the price rise. Interestingly, EE customers won’t be affected.
The timing is somewhat apt, considering we were last night on Britain’s Secret Shoppers talking about price rises on fixed contracts from Vodafone, O2, Three Mobile, Orange and T-Mobile.
EE’s price rise for Orange and T-Mobile customers
And the wait for the latest price rise is almost over – Orange customers will be hit on 10 April and T-Mobile customers will be affected from 9 May. Both Orange and T-Mobile customers on fixed contracts were hit by similar price increases last year. This is because there’s a term hidden away in their contracts that allow for price rises every 12 months as long as the increase is below the current RPI rate of inflation.
EE will be contacting affected customers by letter from today, giving them the required 30 days notice of the changes. EE will also be amending its marketing materials to reflect the possibility of price rises, although that’s not much help for existing customers.
Paying extra to fix your monthly plan
So, what can you do about it? As with all other price rises from the major mobile providers, you won’t be able to cancel without paying a hefty penalty, usually the remaining monthly payments on your contract.
For customers who want to avoid the price rise, from 10 April EE will be offering customers a new bolt on called ‘Fix Your Monthly Plan’.
The Fix Your Monthly Plan bolt on (‘the first of its kind in the industry’) will cost between 50p and £2 per month depending on your current line rental. I’d imagine you’ll agree that forcing customers to pay extra to enjoy a fixed price contract when they thought it was fixed in the first place, is outrageous.
And it all sounds incredibly complex. So complicated that EE will have a calculator on its website for customers to work out how much extra they’ll have to pay. All in all, this latest price rise is just further evidence that Ofcom has to step in and change the rules.
Fixed should mean fixed and if it doesn’t, you should be able to leave your contract without penalty. Full stop.
[UPDATE 7 March 2013] – There’s just one week to go before Ofcom closes its consultation into price rises during fixed contracts. Have your say by voting in our poll and watch our new Fixed Means Fixed video: