Using the excuse of new increases to VAT that came into operation this week, UK mobile operators have warned users that text messages will now be more expensive.
Leading the charge is O2 UK which has announced that it will be raising the price of text messages for pay-as-you-go (PAYG) customers from 10p to 20p--a huge increase of 20 per cent--when VAT only rose by 2.5 per cent. T-Mobile has decided on a more modest rise of 10 per cent with each message now costing 11p.
Both operators have attempted to explain away these price hikes claiming that they were to compensate for a price freeze on other services such as Internet use for their PAYG customers.
3UK has also said it would increase both PAYG and monthly tariffs, and would impose a 50 per cent increase from £1 to £1.50 for those customers wanting an itemised bill sent to their homes.
Orange has decided not to lift its voice and SMS charges for its PAYG customers, while its contract subscribers will only be hit with the 2.5 per cent VAT increase to their monthly bills.
For those PAYG customers dissatisfied with these increases, Carphone Warehouse has announced a new deal that includes a handset for 1p.
The company said that its new Talkmobile PAYG Essentials tariff would include a budget Alcatel OT 209 handset for 1p, while calls would cost 8p per minute, texts 4p per message and mobile internet access 25p a day.
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