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Mobile mid-contract price hikes in April 2023: What you need to know

Vanessa Tsai
Written by  Vanessa Tsai
Updated: 31 Jan 2023

Wondering why you’re facing sky-high phone bills? We go through this year’s mid-contract price rises, which networks are increasing prices, and what you can do if you’re tied to a contract.

Why are mobile phone contract prices going up?

UK mobile networks usually increase their prices according to the Retail Prices Index (RPI) or Consumer Price Index (CPI) every year, to offset the rate of inflation and rising business costs.

Even if you’ve signed up to a mobile phone contract with a fixed monthly direct debit payment, it’s common to face a mid-contract price hike. This is usually between 3% to 4%.

However, inflation has shot up to extreme levels this year, with the current inflation rate at its highest point in four decades. As a result, customers face up to 18% added to their mobile bills in 2023. This is a much higher price hike than usual – and at a time when people’s finances are under more pressure than ever.

Broadband providers are also doing the same – read our page on broadband price rises for more.

woman with mobile phone at desk

How much will mobile phone mid-contract bills go up?

Whether your mobile phone bill will go up, and by how much, depends on the network you’re with.

It’s also worth noting that these rises might not necessarily apply to you. Some networks are only introducing price hikes on SIM-only plans, while others will only increase the price of its phone contracts – it’s best to check with your network to see if you’re affected.

We outline what you can expect from each network below:

EE

14.4% price rise (CPI + 3.9%) on 31 March 2023

O2

18.1% price rise (RPI + 3.9%) on 1 April 2023

Vodafone

14.4% price rise (CPI + 3.9%) if your plan started from 9 December 2020, taking effect on 1 April 2023

Three

  • 14.4% price rise (CPI + 3.9%) for customers who joined on or after 1 Nov 2022

  • 4.5% price rise for customers who joined between 29 Oct 2020 and 31 Oct 2022

Price rises to take effect on 1 April 2023.

Asda Mobile

No price hike announced.

BT Mobile

14.4% price rise (CPI + 3.9%) on 31 March 2023

giffgaff

No price hike announced.

iD Mobile

  • 14.2% price rise on phone contracts

  • No price rises on SIM-only contracts

Price rises to take effect on 1 April 2023.

Lebara

No price hike announced.

Lyca Mobile

No price hike announced.

Plusnet Mobile

14.4% price rise (CPI + 3.9%) on 31 March 2023

SMARTY

No price hike announced.

Sky Mobile

No price hike announced.

Talkmobile

14.4% price rise (CPI + 3.9%)

Tesco Mobile

No price hike announced.

Virgin Mobile

18.1% price rise (RPI + 3.9%) for pay-monthly and SIM-only customers, to take effect on 1 April 2023

VOXI

No price hike announced.

When do the price hikes kick in?

Both broadband and mobile companies typically make their price hikes effective around March or April.

Networks are obligated to give customers at least 30 days’ notice of any price increases. So ,they’ll usually announce price rises in January or February.

What can I do if I face a price hike?

Most networks are legally allowed to increase prices mid-contract, in line with inflation rates. This is set out in your contract terms when you sign up to one.

So, even though you’ve agreed to pay a monthly amount until your contract is up, you’ll also have agreed to pay any mid-contract price hikes.

As a result, you usually can’t cancel your contract early without paying an exit fee – even if you’re facing an unexpectedly high bill.

Ofcom rules state that customers can only leave mobile contracts early, penalty-free, if the price hike is of “material detriment” – so, if it’s much greater than the inflation rate. However, as inflation is so high this year, it can be tricky to prove that you’re being ripped off.

Still, there are some things you might be able to do, depending on your situation.

Recently, mobile networks agreed to get rid of early exit fees for customers moving to a cheaper tariff with them. If you’re still tied to a contract, you might be able to move to a cheaper deal with your current network.

If your contract is finished, you’re free to compare mobile tariffs and shop around for a more affordable deal. Read our guide to switching mobile networks if you need more help with this.

If you’re on a monthly SIM-only deal– something that’s common among budget networks – it’s easy to switch to a cheaper deal once the month is up. You can compare cheap SIM deals with MoneySuperMarket.