O2, Three and EE customers to see bills rise in April as price hikes kick in

Millions of O2 customers will be hit with a 2.7% price hike in April, the mobile network has confirmed.

The increase is in line with January's retail prices index (RPI), measure of inflation, as announced earlier this month.

For some customers, for example those with O2's priciest "Unlimited Airtime" tariff at £35 a month, prices will rise by 95p each month, or by £11.34 over the year.

According to O2, the average increase across all of its customers will be 62p a month – or £7.44 a year.

"The annual RPI adjustment this year is 2.7 per cent. Unlike some other operators that apply RPI increases to bundled tariffs, increasing both the handset and airtime costs, O2 Refresh customers only have this rate applied to their Airtime Plan," the network said.

"We’re contacting our customers to let them know the change, which will be reflected from their April bill."

The increase applies to all pay-monthly tariffs taken out or upgraded since January 23, 2014, including standard, mobile broadband, and Sim-only tariffs, regardless of the contract length.

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For O2 Refresh customers, whose bill is split into the cost of minutes, texts and data they are paying for, called the Airtime Plan, and the cost of the device itself, the increase will only apply to the Airtime costs.

If you are unhappy about the price hikes and you are on a Refresh contract, you can cancel your contract at any time and won't be charged anything extra.

Your final bill will include any out-of-bundle charges you have incurred before you cancelled and, if you terminate your airtime contract before paying off the cost of your device in full, your final bill will also include the lump sum you still owe.

Elsewhere, Three and EE customers will also be hit with a price rise later this year in line with latest inflation figures.

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A Three spokesperson said: "This year, our customers will see an increase of 2.7% in line with the January RPI rate of inflation published by the ONS [Office for National Statistics]. This means, for example, that a Three customer paying £20 per month will see an increase of 54p per month. We will be contacting customers from March onwards, and these changes will be introduced during May 2020."

Three said all pay-monthly customers with a contract which was taken out, renewed or upgraded since May 29, 2015 will see a rise of 2.7% from this May.

This includes Sim-only and mobile broadband plans, and applies regardless of the length of your contract.

EE customers will also see mobile bills hiked by 2.2% from March 30.

The rise means pay monthly users will pay an extra 58p a month on average – although this could be as high as an extra £2.29 each month for those on pricier contracts.

BT mobile customers will also see increases of 1.3% from March, while Vodafone will announce its new rates on Wednesday, March 25.

I can't afford it – can I cancel my plan?

If you're locked in a standard contract with your mobile provider you won't be allowed to leave your contract penalty free as a result of the increase.

That's because all mobile providers are allowed to up contract prices once a year in line with inflation – and this is mentioned in the terms and conditions.

Mobile users can typically only cancel their contract if an increase is what regulator Ofcom deems is "of material detriment" to them.

As this increase is in line with inflation, you're unlikely to be able to argue the material detriment clause, but there's no harm in trying providing you can back it up.

If you're unable to afford the price rise, speak to your provider about your options. They may be able to offer you an early upgrade, a cheaper plan or give you more for your money.

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