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Mid-contract telecom price hikes add £100 to bills

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

Millions of mobile and broadband customers could be hit with inflation-busting price hikes, adding £100 to bills next year, a charity warns.

Nine out of 10 broadband customers and seven out of 10 mobile users are signed up to contracts allowing providers to hike prices mid-term, according to Citizens Advice.

Its research revealed many providers are currently set to increase prices beyond inflation, and in the worst cases, could see customers pay 3.9% on top of the 12.6% forecast for January 2023.

Worryingly, the charity found one in four customers didn’t know their prices could go up mid-contract, and a further two in five were aware they could rise, but didn’t know by how much.

In one case seen by the charity, one shopper took out an internet contract for £48 a month, but it rose to £54 then £59 without them being informed. They’re stuck in an 18-month contract.

In another, a mobile phone customer saw their contract go up from £64 to £70 a month, despite being under the impression that price rises would be closer to 50p/£1.

This comes at a time when millions of households are already grappling with the spiralling costs of living.

Citizens Advice: Axe price hikes

Citizens Advice found that one in three mobile and broadband customers facing price hikes have already cut back on everyday essentials such’s as food, energy and clothing.

As such, it’s calling for these providers to axe the price hikes, which it predicts could cost Brits an extra £2.5bn in 2023.

It said mobile and broadband internet is an essential utility and access “must remain affordable”.

One customer Richard, 42, told Citizens Advice: “Over the years, I have had many mid-contract price rises. And it may seem like only a few pounds, but it quickly adds up.

“I’ve just found out my rent is about to go up and all my other bills are going up. I’m going to have to seriously start cutting back on some things.”

Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Every day our advisers hear from people barely making ends meet as they try to cope with inflation and soaring household bills.

“As we all pull together in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, mobile and broadband providers should be finding every way possible to help people.

“We want to see them cancel mid-contract price rises this year. Ofcom and the government should then look to protect consumers from future ones.”