The 2.5% VAT increase is presenting an opportunity for mobile networks to revise their prices upwards, pushing family mobile phone bills above £1000 per year.
Mobile phone networks are seizing the opportunity to increase some of their charges under the cover of the VAT increase, price comparison site uSwitch is claiming.
With an average of three mobile phones in every family household, the VAT rise will increase pay-monthly bills by £22 per year, however further charges are now being applied by some networks.
For example, new customers signing up to a Three pay monthly tariff will need to keep a close eye on their usage. The network has raised the cost of calls from 12p to 30p per minute and the cost of texts from 12p to 30p per text for new customers going outside of their allowance – an 150% increase.
All Three customers not on the ‘all-you-can eat’ One Plan will also now be charged for voicemail, and those opting for paper bills will be charged £1.50 a month, up from £1 a month.
O2 pre-pay customers have witnessed a 20% rise in the cost of text messages, from 10p to 12p per text. And Vodafone’s roaming customers should beware: making calls within Europe now costs 39p from 38p, receiving them costs 15p from 14p and texting costs 11p, up from 10p.
So whilst the rising VAT and additional prices is pushing household mobile phone bills to beyond £1000 per year, there is actually some good news for phone and mobile data users as Ernest Doku, communications expert at uSwitch.com, explains:
“Consumers could offset these price rises by reviewing their mobile usage and moving to a better deal. Switching network can save shoppers as much as up £81 a year – without losing your existing number. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to get an upgrade to one of the latest smartphones.”