LOYAL EE customers who joined the mobile provider more than five years ago will be hit with average bill hikes of 2.4 per cent it’s been revealed.
From June 1, mobile users who signed up to EE before January 23 2014 and who haven’t taken out a new contract or upgraded since will typically see bills rise by 45p a month – or £5.40 a year – on average.
Getty – Contributor Loyal EE customers will be hit with 2.4 per cent price hikes
Of course, the more you pay the bigger the increase. Those paying £35 a month, for example, will see bills rise by 84p a month or £10.08 over the year.
EE wouldn’t tell us how many customers this affects but it’s likely to be thousands given the provider has 31million users in total across its mobile and broadband network.
This so-called “loyalty premium” is currently being investigated amid concerns consumers are being ripped off to the tune of thousands.
But these EE customers weren’t hit with the 2.7 per cent hike millions of newer EE users were slapped with from March 31.
HOW TO CUT YOUR MOBILE BILLFIRSTLY, decide if you’re happy with your current deal and whether you want a new deal or handset – or both.If you’re outside the minimum term of your contract then you can leave penalty free – and you might be able to find a cheaper deal elsewhere.
Pay-as-you-go deals are better for people who don’t regularly use their phone, while monthly contracts usually work out cheaper for those who do.
The best way to find a new deal is by checking comparison websites, such as MoneySupermarket and uSwitch.com, which compare tariffs and handset prices.
It’s also worth trying Billmonitor, it matches buyers to the best pay-monthly deal based on their previous three months of bills.
It only works if you’re a customer of EE, O2, Three, Vodafone or Tesco Mobile and you’ll need to log in with your online account details.
MobilePhoneChecker has a bill monitoring feature that recommends a tariff based on your monthly usage.
If you’re happy with your provider then it might be worth using your research to haggle a better deal.
And unlike that increase, which was based on December 2018’s retail prices index (RPI) measure of inflation, this latest rise is based on the rate in March 2019.
The good news is you can cancel your contract penalty free if you’re affected – this is because you’re already outside of your contract’s minimum term.
You just need to provide 30 days’ notice. EE says it began notifying users of the change from April 23.
The reason for the difference is that new rules were introduced by mobile regulator Ofcom on January 23 2014, which allow providers to up prices in line with inflation for new and upgrading users once a year – as long as they make it clear before people sign up.
Ru Bhikha, mobile expert at price comparison site uSwitch.com, says EE customers should use this as an opportunity to check they’re on the best deal.
He said: “Those long-standing and loyal EE customers who would have thought that they had avoided an annual price hike will be getting a rude awakening with this news.
“While the figure may seem small, it will easily add up and for those one in six mobile users who are out of contract and still paying for a handset they have long since purchased, it really should spur them into action.
“If you are an EE customer who is out of contract a quick comparison could surprise at how much you can save, as well as the extra data, perks and benefits currently available.”
An EE spokesperson said: “Like many service providers, our pay monthly plans increase by RPI annually, and this June customers who joined us before January 23 2014 will typically see an increase of 45p a month on our most popular plans.
“We’re currently contacting customers to remind them this will take effect from 1st June 2019.”
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But EE isn’t the only provider to up prices. O2, Three, Vodafone, and Virgin Mobile have all recently announced hikes.
Here are three steps to avoid the increases.
Sky and Now TV Cinema have also announced price rises.
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