T-Mobile to begin charging for paperbills
T–Mobile will now charge customers for receiving bills by post, affecting over half a million of mobile phone users.
The mobile phone provider announced that from March its customers will have to pay an extra £1 on top of their monthly bill if they still want to receive a paper bill.
Customers who fail to notify T–Mobile of their preference will be charged too.
There are currently 627,000 T–Mobile customers still receiving paper bills, according to comparison website uSwitch.
T-Mobile is only the latest in a string of mobile phone providers charging for paperbills, with most of the other major networks already charging customers extra to receive their bills by post.
Orange penalises its customers £1.54 a month to receive a summary and the same again for a full itemised paper bill, while Vodafone and Three charge customers £1.50 for the privilege, although phone users can get a free paper summary.
Virgin Mobile customers will have to pay £1.25 for either a summary or full bill, while O2 provides postal bills on request for a £1 fee although iPhone customers can't ask for this.
Most customers (75%) now receive their mobile phone bill electronically, according to uSwitch.
Money down the drain
Ernest Doku, technology expert for uSwitch calls paper bills "a luxury" that most can no longer afford:
"Although £1 a month may not seem like much, for many this is simply money down the drain."
He is, however, concerned that many mobile phone users won't look at their bills properly. While 49% of customers who receive electronic bills check them every month, uSwitch's survey reveals that 35% only look at their bills occasionally and 14% never check them at all either because they cannot remember login details or don't think it's worth the hassle.
"There are benefits to receiving bills online, both financially and environmentally, but it's important that customers continue to check their bill rigorously every month when the text alert comes through."
James Sherwood, spokesperson for Mobile Choices, is disappointed with T–Mobile's announcement:
"Though we recognise the environmental benefits of switching its customers to online billing, we're concerned that some sectors of society, such as the elderly or disabled, may find it more difficult to manage their bills online.
"This is the ideal opportunity for anyone striving to reduce their mobile phone costs to save money by comparing pay-monthly and pay-as-you-go mobile phone deals online."