Orange & T-Mobile Introduce ‘Fix Your Monthly Plan’ Option, Raise Contract Prices

March 8th, 2013

Orange and T-Mobile have announced a price rise of 3.3%. We look at how it affects you and whether the ‘Fix Your Monthly Plan’ option provides good value.

Orange T-MobileFor the second year running, Orange and T-Mobile have announced price rises for their Pay Monthly customers. Existing customers will see their contract prices rising by 3.3% with the first customers being affected from next month. For customers who currently pay £30/month on their contract, the latest price rise equates to an additional £1/month on your bill (or £12 per year).

Along with the price rises, Orange and T-Mobile have also introduced a ‘Fix Your Monthly Plan’ option on their contracts. For an extra charge of between 50p/month and £2/month, the ‘Fix Your Monthly Plan’ option future-proofs you from further price rises. In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the ‘Fix Your Monthly Plan’ option and ask whether it represents good value for money.

How much are prices on Orange and T-Mobile increasing by?

Most Pay Monthly customers on Orange and T-Mobile will see their monthly bill increasing by 3.3%. On the majority of tariffs, the price rises will take effect from the 10th April on Orange and the 9th May on T-Mobile.

Network Tariff Type Date of Price Rise
Orange Pay Monthly (taken before 1st February 2013) 10th April 2013
Orange Pay Monthly (taken after 1st February 2013) No Price Increase
T-Mobile Pay Monthly (taken before 1st December 2012) 9th May 2013
T-Mobile Pay Monthly (taken between 1st December 2012 and 22nd January 2013) November 2013
T-Mobile Pay Monthly (taken after 22nd January 2013) No Price Increase
T-Mobile SIM Only (longer than 30 days, taken before 1st May 2013) 1st June 2013

The price increases do not affect customers on Pay As You Go and customers who have either a 30 day SIM only contract or a mobile broadband contract.

If there will be price rises on your contract, the following table gives an approximate guide of how your monthly bill will change:

Current Monthly Price New Monthly Price Increase in Monthly Price
£5/month £5.17/month 17p/month
£10/month £10.33/month 33p/month
£15/month £15.50/month 50p/month
£20/month £20.66/month 66p/month
£25/month £25.83/month 83p/month
£30/month £30.99/month 99p/month
£35/month £36.16/month £1.16/month
£40/month £41.32/month £1.32/month
£45/month £46.49/month £1.49/month

There are no changes to the price of picture messages, out-of-bundle calls and boosters.

How much does it cost to ‘Fix Your Monthly Plan’?

Along with the price rises, Orange and T-Mobile are introducing a new ‘Fix Your Monthly Plan’ option from the 10th April. You can add this to your plan at any time to future-proof yourself from further price rises. The cost of ‘Fix Your Monthly Plan’ depends on the monthly price of your contract:

Monthly Price of Contract Additional Cost of ‘Fix Your Monthly Plan’ Option
£0/month to £14.99/month 50p/month
£15/month to £24.99/month £1.00/month
£25/month to £34.99/month £1.50/month
£35/month and above £2.00/month

If you add this option in April, you won’t be affected by this year’s price rises.

Are there likely to be more price rises to come?

Mobile MastFor both Orange and T-Mobile customers, it’s the second consecutive year with a price rise on Pay Monthly contracts. Combined with the fact that both networks are now offering a ‘Fix Your Monthly Plan’ option, it’s highly likely that there will be further prices rises down the line. This is assuming that Ofcom doesn’t clamp down on the practice.

In terms of the timing for a future price rise, the earliest possible date for the next price rise will be 12 months after the previous one. For Orange customers, this is the 10th April 2014 and for T-Mobile customers it’s the 9th May 2014. As price rises are linked to the RPI inflation index (which measures price level changes over 12 months), there cannot be two price rises within the same year.

Historical Orange price rises have been as follows:

Date Price Increase
8th January 2012 4.34%
10th April 2013 3.3%

Historical T-Mobile price rises have been as follows:

Date Price Increase
9th May 2012 3.7%
9th May 2013 3.3%

The Bank of England targets an annual inflation rate of 2%, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). Although the CPI measurement of inflation is slightly different from the RPI measurement, the two tend to give fairly similar numbers with RPI being marginally higher. Given this inflation target, it is unlikely that 2014’s price rise will be much larger. Any further price rises in 2014 are likely to be in the region of 2.5% to 3.5%.

Does the ‘Fix Your Monthly Plan’ option provide good value?

moneyIn order to determine whether the ‘Fix Your Monthly Plan’ option provides good value, you should compare the cost of the ‘Fix Your Monthly Plan’ option to the amount that your monthly bill will be increasing by. We have several key observations:

  • If you have 12 months or less remaining on your contract, the ‘Fix Your Monthly Plan’ option provides poor value. There shouldn’t be any further price increases in the next year.
  • If you’re considering the ‘Fix Your Monthly Plan’ option after April/May, it’s better to wait until next year before you add it. The earliest date for the next price increase will be April 2014 (Orange) and May 2014 (T-Mobile). There are no benefits in adding the option early as you’d simply be paying more.
  • If your contract costs £61/month or more, the ‘Fix Your Monthly Plan’ option can be cheaper than the price increases. However, you could save even more money by switching to a new contract. On other networks, just £20/month will give you unlimited calls and unlimited texts.

If you wish to add ‘Fix Your Monthly Plan’, you’ll need to call customer services on 150.

Are Orange and T-Mobile allowed to increase their prices mid-contract?

ContractYes. There is a clause within the the terms and conditions of your contract that allows Orange & T-Mobile to increase their prices in line with inflation. Refer to clause 4.3.1 in the Orange Network Terms and Conditions and clause 7.2.3 in the T-Mobile Network Terms and Conditions. The terms permit them to:

increase the Charges (as a percentage) by an amount equal to or less than the percentage increase in the All Items Index of Retail Prices or any other statistical measure of inflation published by any government body authorised to publish measures of inflation from time to time, and published on a date as close as reasonably possible before the date on which we send you written notice

The Retail Prices Index (RPI) is the typical measure of inflation used by Orange and T-Mobile. It’s published on a monthly basis by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and gives the average price increase over the previous 12 months.

Most of the UK’s major network operators have similar clauses within their contracts. Other networks have increased their prices too (Three in July 2012, Vodafone in November 2012 and O2 in February 2013). Notably, Tesco Mobile is the one exception as they have promised that prices will never go up mid-contract. They are the only network providing this promise.

I’m leaving Orange/T-Mobile. Can I take my phone number?

Yes, it’s possible to take your phone number with you when you switch network. Once you’ve ordered a phone or SIM card from another network, call Orange/T-Mobile’s customer services on 150 and ask for a “PAC Code”. This is an authorisation code that allows you to transfer your phone number to another network. It’s free to transfer your phone number and it takes no more than 24 hours. See our guide to PAC Codes for more information: alternatively use our PAC Code Finder for a step-by-step guide to this process.

Where can I find out more about price rises?

You can find out more about the price changes on the Orange and T-Mobile websites.

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About Ken

Ken Lo

My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.

Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.

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