Tesco vows never to raise tariff prices mid-term
Tesco Mobile has stuck its head above the parapet in the fixed-deal price hike furore and promised never to raise its customers' bills mid-contract.
In a move that could prompt other providers to consider how they approach fixed-contract price hikes, the supermarket's mobile arm announced: "Tesco Mobile has never raised its pay-monthly tariff costs mid-contract and is dedicated to continuing this."
As Ofcom prepares to report on new rules to prevent providers from increasing the cost of fixed-term contracts mid-term, mobile companies have begun considering ways to placate customers irate with fixed deals that lack a fixed price.
So much so that EE is planning to launch a new fixed-rate contract for Orange and T-Mobile customers that will enable them to pay a premium of between 50p and £2 a month (depending on their tariff) to fix the price of their contract for its duration.
Since January last year, Vodafone, O2, 3, T-Mobile and Orange (the latter two are now part of EE) have all put up their fixed contract prices mid term.
Simon Groves, chief marketing officer at Tesco Mobile, said: "We believe it's only fair to stick to the contract that we make with our customers, and see no reason to change the core tariff price that a customer has signed up to.
"Being open and honest with [our customers] is incredibly important to us and we're proud to be setting an example of best in class mobile service."
Tesco Mobile's commitment relates to the 'core tariff' and comes with a caveat that prices may rise for services that fall outside of the tariff, such as directory enquiries or making calls abroad.
Ernest Doku, a telecoms expert at comparison website uSwitch.com, welcomed the news.
"By ensuring that all plans have a fixed price for their duration, it brings some much-needed clarity and reassurance," he said.
"However, while clarity and transparency are vital, it's important that customers aren't made to pay for them through higher handset costs or more expensive tariffs.
"Tesco Mobile has to maintain the value it currently offers and not pass on any potential price increases to customers at the start of the contract."