O2 and Virgin Mobile to hike mobile prices by up to 17.3% – here's what you need to know
Millions of O2 and Virgin Mobile customers will be hit with price hikes of up to 17.3% in April, the mobile providers' parent company has confirmed. Below we explain what's happening and what you can do about it.
If you're on an O2 'Refresh' or Virgin Mobile 'Freestyle' plan, the headline figure of 17.3% will apply to the airtime part of your contract only, so what you pay for calls, texts and data, not what you pay for any device you have. Virgin Media O2, the parent company of both firms, says this means the average price rise across all its mobile customers is 10% – which is just below inflation.
The new hikes come just days after industry regulator Ofcom announced it would investigate the practice of mid-contract price hikes, amid concerns telecoms providers aren't being clear enough about what customers can expect to pay over the course of their contracts.
Other major providers including BT, EE and Sky have already announced price rises of up to 14.4% for their mobile customers from this spring – see our firm-by-firm round-up of broadband and mobile price hikes for more info.
If you're out of contract, you don't have to accept any price hikes – use our Broadband Unbundled and Cheap Mobile Finder tools to compare the latest deals and see how much how you could save by switching.
Here's how much O2 and Virgin Mobile prices will rise by in April
These providers use the January retail prices index (RPI) rate of inflation as part of their price rise calculation. This RPI figure – 13.4% – was published today (Wednesday 15 February), so we now know the exact price hikes the firms will implement.
|How much prices will rise by||When hikes will come in|
|Pay-monthly and Sim-only users with mobiles, tablets and/or smart watches who took out a deal or upgraded from 25 March 2021||Up to 17.3%
This is January's Retail Prices Index (RPI) figure (published today) + 3.9 percentage points.
If you're on an O2 Refresh plan, the device part of your contract WON'T rise – so your overall increase will be less than 17.3%.
|1 Apr 23|
|Pay-monthly and Sim-only users with mobiles, tablets and/or smart watches who took out a deal or upgraded before 25 March 2021||Up to 13.4%
January's RPI figure (published today).
If you're on an O2 Refresh plan, the device part of your contract WON'T rise – so your overall increase will be less than 13.4%.
|1 Apr 23|
|Pay-as-you-go users||No change||N/A|
|All pay-monthly and Sim-only users (Virgin Mobile doesn't offer pay-as-you-go)||Up to 17.3%
This is January's RPI figure (published today) + 3.9 percentage points.
If you're on a Virgin Mobile Freestyle plan, the device part of your contract WON'T rise – so your overall increase will be less than 17.3%.
Virgin Mobile users will be migrated to O2 this year, and will be subject to O2's price change formula from 2024.
|1 Apr 23|
Out of contract? You're free to leave – so check if you can switch and save
If you're outside your minimum contract term with either O2 or Virgin Mobile, you can leave at any point penalty-free – and given the best mobile deals tend to be for newbies, there's a good chance you're overpaying anyway.
Benchmark prices elsewhere and if you can get a cheaper deal, ditch and switch – you can use our Cheap Mobile Finder tool to see what other deals are out there.
Alternatively, if you're willing to stay, you can try haggling and see if your provider will match or beat a deal you've found elsewhere. O2 and Virgin Mobile were both among the top 10 companies to haggle with, according to our latest poll of MSE users. See our mobile haggling guide for more help.
MSE top tip: Not sure if you're still in contract? Text INFO to 85075. It's free to do this and you'll get a text back from your existing provider letting you know if you'll have any early termination fees to pay if you decide to switch.
Within your minimum contract term? You CAN'T cancel penalty-free
If you're in contract – meaning you actively signed up to a new tariff within the last year or possibly two (do check) – these price rises will have been written into that contract. Unfortunately this means you won't be able to cancel penalty-free.
If you're unhappy with the price rise, you should note when your contract's due to end and start looking for new deals nearer the time.
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