Millions of Britons could see a 17 per cent increase in their monthly phone bills after service providers raised prices this spring.
Mobile service providers are expected to increase contract prices in April as the UK grapples with an ongoing cost of living crisis and soaring inflation.
Analysts expect the average household to see their phone bill increase by more than £17 a month or roughly £210 a year. Fees will vary by service provider.
As families prepare for the looming decade hike, a home money-saving company has developed a free online calculator that will project your estimated monthly bill.
To use the calculator, simply select your mobile service provider and your contract details to see how much your monthly bill can go up.
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Analysts at Nous.co, which developed the online tool, claim the average monthly phone bill in the UK is £25.62 a month.
The calculator showed that a typical family household – defined as a mother, father and two children – with four phone contracts could see more than £17 increase in their monthly bill due to the expected rise in the middle of the decade.
Service providers can calculate their surcharges using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the Retail Price Index (RPI).
With CPI, service providers can charge customers 14.4 per cent more than allowed by Ofcom’s rules.
The rules allow companies to raise fees according to the rate of inflation – now at 10.5 percent – plus an additional 3.9 percent on top.
Companies can also calculate price hikes using the retail price index, which analysts claim will result in rises of up to 17.3 percent.
The expected rate includes a 13.4 percent RPI, plus an additional 3.9 percent allowed by Ofcom.
Nous.co claims that the RPI is “a now unreliable measure of inflation” and “usually much higher” than the CPI.
Mobile service providers are expected to increase contract prices in April as the UK grapples with an ongoing cost of living crisis and soaring inflation. Analysts expect the average household to see their phone bill increase by more than £17 a month or roughly £210 a year. Fees will vary by service provider
Greg Marsh, founder and CEO of Nous.co, argued that in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, it is “important” for families to know “exactly what increasing costs they are facing”.
When inflation was running at around 3 percent, while that was a hoax, it wasn’t too dire for customers. Now we’re looking at significant increases, Marsh said.
Even if inflation falls over the next 12 months (which is far from certain) by the end of this year, mobile phone costs will be capped at a rate nearly three times that. And many people are now locked into contracts of up to 24 months.
He added: “It is important for families to know exactly what increased costs they are facing and also when they might be able to get out of their contracts and hopefully shop around for a better deal.”
His comments echoed those of Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, who last week encouraged homeowners to “give up” and switch contracts.
Lewis argued that nearly 7 million clients are out of contract and overpaid on their contracts. He urged these customers to seek deals with other providers.
The financial expert claimed, during last week’s ITV Money Show, that negotiating clients have “high success rates on many other broadband providers too”.
“Switch…don’t worry about it so much,” he said, claiming that the new company would handle the conversion.
It also encouraged customers still in their contract to try bargaining with their existing provider – claiming that 75 per cent of TalkTalk, Virgin and Sky customers bargained successfully.
He instructed families to call their provider and say, “I see what you’re charging new customers.”
Ask if the supplier can offer a better deal, Mr. Lewis said, and if the salesperson refuses, ask for a customer separation department.
“This is where they can make the big deals,” he explained. “Always be polite and if they don’t give you that price I’m going to be so upset I want to give it up and switch and go somewhere else.”
Inflation fell to 10.5 percent in December, down from 10.7 percent in the previous month
The financial advice comes as the consumer price index fell to 10.5 percent in December, down from 10.7 percent in the previous month.
This is the second consecutive decline in the index, as experts note the peak has passed after a 40-year high of 11.1 percent in October. That could relieve pressure on the Bank of England to continue raising interest rates.
However, chancellor Jeremy Hunt warned on Wednesday that efforts to tackle the curse of rising prices could not be let down.
Ministers also pledged to stand firm against the wave of strikes in the public sector, saying giving in to demands for double-digit wage increases risked undermining the progress that has been made.
Speaking after the release of the CPI figures, Mr Hunt said: ‘There is no room for any deviation from our central target for this year, which is to cut inflation in half, until we deal with, for example, the anger of public sector employees whose salaries we are seeing eroded. We deal with the pressure retirees see when they make their weekly shop, and the pressure on companies that sometimes worry about their viability.
This should be our central mission and that is why the Prime Minister has nailed his colors to the mast and said we will halve inflation over the next year.