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June 2, 2015

Three quietly backtracks on mid-contract price now adds RPI

increase-copyThree have over the last few months been applauded for being a carrier of the people with all-you-can-eat data tariffs, free 4G connectivity as standard and free roaming in popular travel destinations. Whenever a new service is announced or a new country added to the free roaming roster, you can bet Three’s going to make sure everyone knows about it.

Remember this from Three!

A Three UK Spokesperson said (Jan 2014):

Your fixed monthly recurring fee from Three will not go up in the minimum term of your contract. We support Ofcom’s approach to fixing the price for pay monthly contracts for their duration. We think it’s only fair that customers should have clarity around costs when they sign up to a contract.”

Three is keeping very quiet about the changes on mid-contract price increases.

Last year, Ofcom introduced new rules to stop carriers increasing the price of mobile contracts during the agreed term. Anyone stung by rising costs could exit their contract without penalty: a decree that effectively killed mid-term price hikes. One slight loophole to the new regulation was that providers could up the cost of contracts in line with inflation, as long as all relevant paperwork mentioned this explicitly. EE and O2 took advantage of this by adding the appropriate clauses to their contracts, but at the time, Vodafone and Three committed to completely static pricing models.

Three quietly changed its terms and conditions (downloads PDF file) to include the inflation clause — any contract signed on or after May 29th 2015 will be subject to a small yearly price increase in line with inflation, with the first bump occurring this time next year. Below is the relevant section.

4. Changes to your agreement or prices
4.1 Your Monthly Charge will be subject to an annual increase by an amount up to the RPI Rate. The annual increase will first appear on your May bill. We will publish the RPI Rate on our website as soon as it’s available. If the RPI Rate is negative, there will be no change to your Monthly Charge.
When I was in a Three store a couple of days ago, where my daughter was upgrading her mobile and, therefore a new contract, nothing was said about the change to the T&C’s. If your going to be increase bills, no matter how small, then at least be upfront about it. Not informing a customer about it is as far as we’re concerned poor customer service.

Three apart from seen to differant from other networks is now quietly joining the likes of  O2 and EE, but it does now make us think, just what makes Three’s definition of “commitment.” different from the others.
Yet, Vodafone is sticking to its policy, for the time being at least. Back in April, Vodafone posted on its blog reaffirming again, its promise to keep contract pricing completely fixed, thereby “keeping with the spirit of the regulations.”

VIA: ISPreview

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Dave Thornton

Senior Editor

Senior Editor
Been involved in technology for many years, more than I care to remember. Live in Dundee, Scotland. I like Android, Windows Phone OS, BlackBerry OS and iOS, and love writing about all things techie. Currently have a Honor 6+, Elephone P6000, Nexus 5, Chrombook C720, HTC One M7, Nokia Lumina 625, Microsoft Lumia 435, Blackberry Q10, HTC Hero and iPad mini