O2 mobile customers will see prices outside their contract hiked from next month.
Extra costs like sending a text outside your standard allowance or calling service numbers will increase from 2 August.
The mobile network provider is hiking out-of-bundle prices
But the changes will not affect the price of customers’ monthly contracts.
They will only notice these higher costs on their bill if they exceed their paid monthly allowance or use services that aren’t included.
Pay-as-you-go customers will not be affected by the changes.
O2 wouldn’t confirm how many customers this affects but the network has around 36 million customers in the UK with millions of these on monthly contracts.
But some O2 users will reportedly be given the right to cancel their contract penalty-free as a result of the changes.
It comes as O2 recently joined other mobile network providers like Three and EE to change its monthly roaming limits for Brits travelling to countries in Europe.
O2 customers will now be charged £3.50 for every gigabyte of data used above a 25Gb limit in 48 European countries from August.
Here we explain all the changes in prices and how you can avoid the bigger bills they may incur.
Which O2 out-of-bundle prices are changing?
O2 is introducing a series of price changes for pay-monthly and Sim-only customers from 2 August.
These include the standard UK text prices doubling from 15p per message to 30p per message.
Meanwhile, access charges to service numbers like 0870, 0845, 09 and 118 numbers will increase from 55p-a-minute to 65p-a-minute.
The cost of calls to 076 numbers also will be hiked from 55p-a-minute to 65p-a-minute.
But calls to 05 numbers will decrease from 55p-a-minute to 35p-a-minute.
How to save on your mobile phone bill
NOT happy with your current mobile phone deal?
If you’re outside the minimum term of your contract then you won’t need to pay a cancellation fee – and you might be able to find a cheaper deal elsewhere.
But don’t just switch contracts because the price is cheaper than what you’re currently paying.
Take a look at how many minutes and texts, as well as how much data you’re using, to find out which deal is best for you.
For example, if you’re a heavy internet user it’s worth finding a deal that accomodates this so you don’t end up spending extra on bundles or add-ons each month.
Also note that if you’re still in your contract period, you might be charged an exit fee.
Ready to look elsewhere? Pay-as-you-go deals are better for people who don’t regularly use their phone, while monthly contracts usually work out cheaper for those who do.
Billmonitor also matches buyers to the best pay-monthly deal based on their previous three months of bills.
It only works if you’re a customer of EE, O2, Three, Vodafone or Tesco Mobile and you’ll need to log in with your online account details.
There’s also MobilePhoneChecker,which has a bill monitoring feature that recommends a tariff based on your monthly usage.
If you’re happy with your provider then it might be worth using your research to haggle a better deal.
A summary paper bill, which is only sent after the customer makes a specific request, will increase from £1 to £2.
The same goes for an itemised paper bill, which will increase from £1.50 to £2.50.
Finally, late payment charges will increase from £3.50 to £6.
On the changes, an O2 spokesperson said: “After reviewing our out of bundle and additional services pricing, we’re writing to customers to advise that the cost of some optional extras is changing.
“Customers will only be impacted if they choose to use these services – their existing tariff, and any Bolt-On or personal allowance, remains the same.”
How to avoid phone bigger bills
There are several different things you can do if you’re not happy about the changes.
Some O2 customers will reportedly be able to cancel their contract penalty-free due to the changes.
The Sun has asked the mobile network provider who this will apply and will update this page when we know more.
It’s likely customers who regularly rack up bigger costs from out-of-bundle charges will be able to cancel their contract free of charge.
Those who aren’t on a SIM-only contract will still have to repay the cost of their phone in full regardless of whether they are offered the penalty-free cancellation.
If you can’t get out of your contract without extra fees and are unhappy about the changes, it may be worth getting in touch with O2 to discuss your options.
You can call 0344 809 0202 or visit its website.
If you’re out of contract, you will be able to leave O2 without any charge.
You should also consider whether it’s worth exploring other options if you don’t use out-of-bundle services that often.
But for those who do, you may save money by changing your plan to include more calls and texts or switching to a network provider that has lower out-of-bundle charges.
You can use a comparison website such as Uswitch to find the best deals going at the moment.
While hunting for a new contract, it’s important to take into account how many calls and texts you actually use.
If you go for a cheaper package that has a lower allowance, then you could end up spending more on extra calls and texts outside your bundle.
But alternatively, you may be spending far more than you need to on an expensive contract with a huge allowance of calls and texts that you’re just not using.
If you do find a better deal, it is worth flagging it to O2 to see if they can match it.
It was recently announced that many mobile phone providers will start charging Brits to use data abroad from August.
We’ve also rounded up the extra costs Brits face on their holidays this year from passport renewals and new roaming charges to PCR tests.
Elsewhere, Universal Credit claimants and others on low incomes can get cheap broadband with a new deal from BT.
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