Millions of Vodafone pay monthly customers will face price rises from next month, though a few can use a loophole to escape the hikes.

The mobile giant will round bills up to the nearest 50p and is increasing some out-of-inclusive-bundle costs. On the plus side, calls to 08 numbers will fall.

Key Points

  • Vodafone price changes from 11 October
  • Bills to be rounded up
  • 08 number call costs to fall

Anyone whose bill will rise by 10% or more will be able to exit their contract without penalty, though Vodafone says the average line rental rise is less than 1%.

Vodafone has about 10 million pay monthly customers, although a proportion of these are business customers (Vodafone won't publish the split) who are not affected by the rises.

Here is a round-up of the planned rises from 11 October that affect pay monthly customers only:

  • Customers who joined before February will have their line rental prices rounded up to the nearest 50p, to be bought in line with the prices Vodafone's new customers currently pay. For example, if your contract costs £25.54 per month this will rise to £26.
  • The cost of out of bundle calls (when you go over your allowance) to landline numbers (starting 01, 02 or 03), Vodafone mobiles and voicemail will rise to 35p per minute for those who joined before June (those who joined since June already pay that). The current price paid by those customers varies.
  • Pay monthly mobile internet customers who exceed their data allowance will be charged £5 for up to 250MB of usage, double the current £5 for up to 500MB of usage. Data bundles vary from 100MB a month to 1GB.

And here are where prices will fall from 11 October (for pay monthly or pay-as-you-go):

  • The price of calls to other mobile networks is falling to 35p a minute for pre-June pay monthly customers. Again, what they pay now varies. Those who joined in January this year currently pay 36p per minute to call another network, but 21p per minute to call Vodafone mobiles and landlines.
  • The cost of calling 08 numbers will fall for both pay monthly and pay-as-you-go customers. The price will plummet from 35p per minute, to 7p per minute for 0800, 0808 and 0870 numbers, and to 12p per minute for 0845 and 0870 numbers. This is only a promotional offer and early next year the prices for all these calls will rise to 14p per minute.

What can I do?

Vodafone is currently notifying customers by text of the rises and all users will be given at least 14 days' notice.

Regulator Ofcom says: "Where a provider changes a condition in a contract, which is likely to be of material detriment, then consumers are often able to escape contracts without penalty".

However, Vodafone will only allow customers to exit without penalty if the rise is over 10% of their total monthly bill.

Most customers won't be hit by monthly increases of more than 10%, but some of our forum users have worked out that due to their high usage of out of bundle calls and data their monthly bills will jump up by that much.

Forum user berjangles reports a likely 40% overall increase while TehJumpingJawa estimates a likely 37% monthly increase compared to their pre-price rise bill.

Customers who think their monthly bill will increase by more than 10% need to write to Vodafone before 11 October letting them know they wish to cancel their contract.

A spokesman for Vodafone says: "From October 11, we are introducing a number of changes to some of our older price plans to bring them into line with the offers made to new and upgrading customers.

"The changes to line rental represent an average increase of less than 1%, which is well below inflation and comes at a time of rising costs."