Three increases contract prices for first time since 2003 launch

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Network blames 3.6 per cent hike on inflation, with rise only affecting existing customers

Three is increasing its prices for existing mobile contract and mobile broadband customers by 3.6 per cent from July 16. It is the first price increase the operator has implemented for contract customers since it entered the market in 2003.

The changes will affect customers who joined Three or upgraded their contract before March 8, 2012, the date at which the operator introduced its ‘Ultimate Internet’ and ‘Essential Internet’ tariffs.

Three said the price increase is the result of rising costs in its business due to inflation and is in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI) figure for March 2012, which is 3.6 per cent.

The increase will be based on the customer’s monthly bill prior to the addition of any add-ons or out-of-bundle charges.

For example, customers paying £15 will see a monthly increase of 54p, while those paying £25 will experience a monthly increase of 90p.

Customers affected by the price increase were notified by text, email or letter by June 1, detailing exactly how much their individual increase will be.

Three marketing director Thomas Malleschitz said: “Despite costs increasing in a number of areas within our business, we have not passed on an RPI-level rise to our contract handset customers in the nine years we have been in operation.

“Increasing our prices for existing customers is a decision we have not taken lightly. We know that increases are never welcome and we have tried to do this in the fairest way possible for all of our customers. We are confident our plans continue to offer the best possible value for money.”

It follows a similar move by Orange last November, when it announced the customers that signed up to an Orange contract before October 1, 2011, would see their monthly bills increase by 4.34 per cent due to a rise in inflation.

Orange had said that customers who had signed up to a new contract after this date had already had the inflation rise included into their deal.

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