Ofcom’s welcome decision to look at mid-contract mobile cancellations hasn’t gone down very well with Vodafone, which claims “millions of people” might end up paying more for their phones to the detriment of the UK mobile market.
Vodafone seems to be switching the blame for any price rises to its suppliers, claiming that cost increases from the likes of BT would either need to be swallowed by the networks or passed on to consumers in the form of pre-emptive higher contract prices that try to factor in future supplier hikes. Here’s Vodafone’s take on that:
We simply do not control many of the charges faced by consumers. They are set by third parties and mobile phone companies have to pass those costs on or they will be subsidising other companies. Prices set by third parties such as BT, include those for directory enquiry services, premium rate and 08 numbers. Yet Ofcom appears resolved to introduce measures that would effectively prevent any rises in these prices being recouped while customers are still in contract.
However, Vodafone does agree that the rules need to be clearer, saying: “We believe there is work to be done to ensure that customers understand the need for long-term contracts and to ensure they are protected during that time, but Ofcom first needs to understand the difference between the prices that are set by mobile phone companies and those which are not.”
The network also suggests it might end up making calling plans more complex, as users may end up paying different prices for different services, depending on which supplier has jacked up its prices.