Three calls for an end to mid-contract price rises

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Three has said Ofcom needs to protect customers from mid-contract price rises which threaten the competitiveness of the UK mobile industry

Three has called for an end to mid-contract price rises, saying they are a “threat to transparency.”

Ofcom completed its consultation into the issue, which was the source of 1,644 complaints to the regulator over eight months, in March. It sought views from UK operators and other stakeholders on what could be done to ensure customers are protected against unexpected changes to landline, broadband and mobile prices.

UK operators have expressed mixed reactions to Ofcom’s suggestion customers be allowed to exit contracts without penalty in the event of price rises.

Vodafone, for example, warned this could result in users being sent spam text messages alerting them to all tariff changes.

In a statement made yesterday Three said: “Mid-term contract price rises are becoming a threat to transparent pricing and open competition, making it harder for consumers to make an informed choice.

“Ofcom should take this opportunity to ensure customers are treated consistently and that all operators price their recurring monthly charges for the length of the contract period.

“However, one aspect of Ofcom’s preferred approach puts this goal at risk. Some of the wholesale charges operators must pay, typically for out of bundle services such as premium or directory enquiries, can vary wildly. Having to fix a price for two years for these would result in higher consumer prices all round.”

Ofcom’s decision is due to be published in June.

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