Ofcom's long-awaited ruling today on mid-contract price hikes for mobile users was meant to protect customers from unexpected charges. Its decision to restrict a network's ability to raise prices for customers before the term of their contract expires however seems to have backfired, as O2 appears to have found a loophole in the regulator's new rules.
The network has today posted revised terms and conditions that will apply to all new customers signing up to its services. In it, O2 states that a customer that signs up with the network explicitly agrees to seeing their contract price rise in line with inflation. Previously, the terms and conditions only noted that this "might" happen. Now, having had its hand forced by Ofcom, O2 looks to be enforcing an annual price rise.
While O2's new stance is certainly clearer than before, it's not exactly the news consumers were hoping would arise from the new Ofcom regulations. New customers to O2's services can expect therefore to see as much as a 2.7 per cent increase in tariff costs come March 1st. Don't be surprised if other networks now follow its lead. [Engadget]
Update -- O2 has been in touch with Gizmodo regarding the terms and conditions change, and gave us the following statement:
We’ve made the change in line with Ofcom’s updated guidance. Customers signing new contracts with O2 from today will have terms that explicitly say their monthly subscription will increase (or decrease) every year in line with RPI. Inflation has an impact on our costs and this will help us to continue to invest in our network and the services that matter to our customers while still offering great value for money.