Operators wary about hiking prices, as UK customers offered options to exit mobile contracts

by: Varun RajJanuary 3, 2013


UK mobile users could not have had it better, as the communications regulator Ofcom is set to alter the general conditions that will dissuade operators from indulging in any mid-contract price hikes. The attitude of the operators is expected to be toned down a lot with Ofcom’s proposed approach, which will be favorable to general users by allowing them to exit their existing contracts under certain conditions.

Ofcom is expected to further strengthen the cause of the consumers by prevailing upon the contractors, and thus avoid springing surprises on the customer as far as price increases go. The right to cancel contracts rests with the customer, though a blanket ban on increasing prices in fixed contracts is ruled out.

Not less than 1,600 consumers’ complaints are what prompted the authority to modify the terms and conditions set for mobile, land line and broadband services.

The operators, however, have not been left in the lurch completely, with options to raise prices keeping in mind the vagaries of inflation over a period as long as a whole year. Customers still have the right to cancel contracts if proof of “material detriment” is obvious on the part of the contractor. However, this is still a grey area that leaves most customers seething silently at their helplessness. A credible argument put forward by mobile groups is that they are just passing on the increases they are burdened with and that are imposed upon them by their wholesalers.

Ofcom, on its part is working on the best rule modifications that will give the consumers a better deal when it comes to price hikes being enforced while they are still within the contract period. By June of this year, Ofcom proposes to tighten the rules and offer the consumers a fair deal.

  • candlelarbra5212

    In Australia the telcos aren’t allowed to hike the prices up in the middle of a contract. I don’t understand why they should be able to either.

    If you offer someone a price for calls, data and a phone you should be able to cover the cost of those features for two years with the price you quoted.

    To claim inflation is a silly argument, two years isn’t that long and if telcos can’t plan that far ahead why should they get regulatory help anyway?

  • ProductFRED

    In the US, any price changes (even by a penny) are grounds for contract termination, should the customer choose. There’s usually a window period (~30 days) where the customer can contact the carrier and request to have their contract ended.