UK Mobile phone operator Orange today announced a hike in prices for both new customers and current contract holders who signed up to the network before mid-September this year. The increase will take place from 8 January 2012.
Orange Pay Monthly customers who signed onto a monthly price plan available before mid-September will see their monthly service charge increase by 4.34%, the increase will affect home users on all contracts and business users who have the personal animal talk plans. The company blames a 20-year high inflation rate as the reason behind the changes, though this is something they have known for sometime.
Luckily, those who have recently taken advantage of Nokia Lumia 800 devices on the network won’t be affected thanks to the Windows Phone device only being released in the past month.
It is very rare for a company to increase prices early/mid-contract although Vodafone in the UK did increase prices by less than 1% last month. Despite this, many Orange customers are unhappy, though Orange themselves have stated that:
“Our Pay Monthly terms and conditions allow us to increase charges by up to the RPI figure in any 12 month period. The increase in the price plan charges is less than the 5.4% rate of inflation as measured by the Retail Price Index (RPI) in October 2011.
We can increase prices at any time on giving proper notice. In this case, the increase is less than the current rate of inflation and our terms and conditions state that we can do this without giving you the right to cancel your contract without paying the disconnection fee.”
The wording of their FAQ has been seen as pretty harshly written by their contract customers, with very little apology and more of the companies PR banters that they are “always offering customers great value”
It remains to be seen if any other mobile operators will follow suite, but hopefully they will see the light and only increase prices for new/upgrade contracts rather than current ones.