How to handle mobile phone contract price increases

Lynn Wright / 10 March 2016

Stung by the news that mobile phone network Three is ‘doubling’ the price of mobile phone tariffs for some existing customers? Here’s what to do when faced with mobile phone tariff increases.

Mobile phone tariffs can be a big expense. Spending £15 or more each month to use your mobile phone to surf the web, make calls and make texts is costly – but it could get worse if your mobile phone network decides to increase the price of your tariff or switch you to a more expensive one.

That’s the scenario facing 100,000s of customers of mobile phone network Three. 

It has told some customers that it plans to phase out its older – and cheaper – mobile phone tariffs and switch them to a more expensive mobile phone tariff within 30 days. With some customers’ mobile phone bills set to double as a result, many have complained to telecoms regulator Ofcom.

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Am I affected by Three’s price increases?

Three will have written to you giving 30 days’ notice that it plans to switch you. If you’ve received this letter, then you’re affected. 

Affected customers appear to be those on older contracts with unlimited data, or on rolling 30-day contracts including the popular 'One Plan' that includes unlimited data, 2,000 minutes and 5,000 texts for £15 per month.

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What should I do?

The good news is that if your mobile phone network decides to switch you to a more expensive tariff, you don’t have to accept it. 

Any significant change in your contract gives you the right to switch to another mobile phone network without penalty – even if you’re still within your contract period.

If your mobile network operator tells you it’s going to switch you to a more expensive tariff, here’s what you can do:

1. Don’t ignore it. 

Check the features of the new tariff, such as number of calls, texts and data included. Don’t like what you’ll be getting? Give them a call and complain.

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2. Act fast

Mobile phone networks must give reasonable notice – typically 30 days – before they switch your tariff. Don’t wait until after the deadline to contact them. They can argue that by not taking your business elsewhere, you’ve accepted the new tariff and its contracted terms by default.

3. Negotiate

Call the mobile phone network and request a better deal. It’s less hassle than switching, and if there’s negative publicity – as with the Three move – you may be offered a better tariff to stay.

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4. Shop around

Look for other mobile phone tariffs that offer similar text, call and data allowances to the one you’re currently on. Chances are you’ll find an even better deal.

5 Get a PAC code

If you would like to keep your current mobile number when you switch provider, contact your mobile phone network and request a PAC code, telling them you’re moving due to their planned tariff change. 

By law, they have to give you the PAC code. You have 30 days to use it to transfer your mobile number to a different mobile phone network. 

Contact the new network with the PAC code and they’ll switch you.

More information on how to keep your mobile number when switching provider.

For more tips and useful information, browse our technology articles.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.