Mobile users in the UK are overpaying for smartphones, by continuing to pay the full sum on their monthly bill despite fully paying out their mobile devices, Virgin Media O2 is saying.
The country’s telecommunications operators usually have bundle offers - consumers can get free voice calls, texts, mobile internet, and a mobile device, for a certain monthly fee.
However, usually when the consumers pay out the smartphone (for example after a year, or two years), the customer contract should be tweaked and the monthly cost reduced.
Now, according to Virgin Media O2, its competitors aren’t doing enough to help their customers switch to cheaper plans. They notify their customers when the smartphone is paid off, and that’s it. As a result, consumers in the country pay £666 million every year for smartphones they already own, the company said.
Despite being notified, Virgin Media O2 says 93% of consumers were unaware they could even be charged for a smartphone that was paid off. Consumers with lower income were the most impacted ones, the report states.
Instead of simply notifying users, the company further says, other companies should introduce more split contracts, allowing users to switch to cheaper plans automatically, as soon as the device has been paid off.
Reuters reached out to EE, Vodafone, and Three, all of which said they offered split contracts and communicated to their customers clearly.
"Like VMO2 we offer split contracts with EE Flexpay while providing all customers with clear end-of-contract notifications, including the best offer for them based on their usage," a BT Consumer spokesperson told the publication.
Vodafone EVO customers on split contracts "will not see any further handset charges once their 0% finance deal ends and will therefore never overpay for a phone." A spokesperson for Three also said the company offers split contracts.
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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.