Category: Three Mobile

Vodafone, EE and Three mobile networks accused of overcharging customers by up to £38 a month

Three of the largest mobile networks routinely overcharge customers after they have paid off their devices by as much as £38 a month, a consumer rights body has claimed.

Vodafone, Three and EE charge customers who have completed the payments required on their handsets but have failed to switch to another contract an average of £22 per month, according to Citizens Advice.

For more expensive phones including iPhones, Samsung’s recent Galaxy S8 and Sony Xperia XZ Premium, they were charged up to £38 a month.

Networks must communicate more efficiently with their customers, Citizens Advice says (Photo: PA)

Many contracts for smartphones offered by UK networks combine the prices for the specific phone and tariff over 18 months or two years, to avoid customers paying hundreds of pounds outright. Once the value of the phone is paid off, the consumer owns it and has the opportunity to stay on the contract or switch.

The group compared pay monthly handset-inclusive contracts offered by Vodafone, EE and Three across 12 devices and compared it t0 their to SIM-only tariffs.

People aged 65 and over are the most likely to fall victim to overpaying on their contracts, with 23 per cent of people in that age bracket staying in the same contract for over 12 months beyond the point they were able to leave it, compared to 13 per cent of people under 65.

“Mobile phones are now an essential part of modern life, but the way that the cost of handsets are hidden within some contracts gives phone providers a way to exploit their customers,” said Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice.

Vodafone customers, check your bills – you may be being overcharged[1]

“It is clearly unfair that some phone providers are charging loyal customers for handsets that they have already paid for. It’s especially concerning that older customers are more likely to be stung by this sharp practice.”

All networks should make clear the cost difference between paying for the phone and the c0st of the tariff, she said, adding it was “important that Ofcom and the government are prepared to protect consumers by making providers take these steps, if they do not do so themselves.”

EE’s current advertising campaign stars Hollywood actor Kevin Bacon (Photo: EE)

A Three spokesperson said the ending date of all new contracts was made “very clear” to new customers.

“Whenever a new customer signs with us, we make the end-date of the contract term very clear. We also let them know that they can contact us at any time to discuss the range of options available should they wish to change their plan with us,” they said.

“We encourage all Three customers to contact us if they would like to change their plan at the end of their fixed term deal.”

Vodafone overcharged me and now I’m fighting debt collectors. How can I stop being harassed?[2]

A EE spokesperson claimed customers were given the option to move to a SIM-only contract up to 45 days before the end of their contract, and that paying for a handset and tariff individually could sometimes result in higher payments.

“Separating phone and tariff doesn’t always represent the best deal for consumers, it can sometimes result in them paying more, and EE customers have the flexibility to choose the tariff and upfront phone cost that’s right for them,” the said.

“We send our customers regular updates about their options before and after they reach the end of their contract, and the vast majority of our customers upgrade to a new phone or move to a SIM-only plan near the end of their contract.”

Vodafone has been contacted for comment.

Cellnet Review

Korean politician calls for handset price cuts

The typical price of mobile phones in South Korea is about 2.6 times higher than the global average, according to a politician who claimed local manufacturers are reluctant to release low cost models.

Citing data from Gartner, representative Byun Jae-il of the ruling Democratic Party said the average handset price in the country from 2015 to Q2 2017 was $514 compared with the global figure of $197, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Over the period, the typical price of Samsung’s handsets in its domestic market was $508 compared with $223 globally, while LG’s average was $361 compared with $176 globally.

Gartner figures also showed premium smartphones accounted for nearly 88 per cent of total handset sales in South Korea in Q4 2016 compared with 32 per cent in the global market, Yonhap reported.

The news agency also cited figures from consumer rights group Green Consumers Network, which in September announced 75.6 per cent of people in the country feel burdened by telecoms-related costs due in large part to the high price of handsets. The group reportedly drew the conclusion after quizzing 1,000 people in a survey.

Byun told Yonhap cutting the cost of subscriptions was not sufficient to reduce “the burden on households” and called on the government to expand the range of handsets available, and promote sales of lower cost devices.

A controversial handset subsidy limit was discontinued[1] at the end of September after being in effect for three years. The Korea Communications Commission (KCC) said it would introduce other measures to stabilise the market once the subsidy cap is removed.

In August the government pushed through a campaign promise by President Moon Jae-in to cut telecoms expenses by increasing the discount[2] mobile operators must offer customers who sign up for new one-year or two-year contracts.

The switch required the country’s three mobile operators – SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus – to give new customers a 25 per cent discount on standard mobile rates, up from the previous 20 per cent.

References

  1. ^ handset subsidy limit was discontinued (www.mobileworldlive.com)
  2. ^ increasing the discount (www.mobileworldlive.com)

iPhone 8 likely to hit S. Korea on Nov. 3: sources

Apple’s latest iPhone 8 series is expected to be released in South Korea on Nov. 3, with reservations starting at the end of the month, according to industry insiders Sunday.

Apple Korea is expected to open reservations for the new iPhone 8 via the country’s top three mobile carriers on Oct. 27, they added.

Korea will be among the iPhone’s third installment of international releases, following its global debut on Sept. 22.  

iPhone 8 (Apple)

The new iPhone 8 is Apple’s first phone series to be equipped with the company’s latest processor, the A11 Bionic — Apple’s first internally designed graphics processing unit, which the firm says is 30 percent faster than processors used in the previous iPhone 7 series.

However, according to industry analysts, the overall response toward the latest series has been lukewarm compared to its predecessors.

Jun Zhang, a Wall Street analyst at Rosenblatt Securities, said in a recent report that the number of iPhone 8 preorders in the US has fallen sharply compared to previous orders for the iPhone 6 and 7.

The price of the iPhone 8 starts at $699, while the listed price tag for the 8 Plus starts at $799. In Korea, the starting price of the new 8 series is expected to be roughly 1 million won ($873), including VAT.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com[1])

References

  1. ^ juliejackson@heraldcorp.com (www.koreaherald.com)

iPhone 8 likely to hit Korean market on Nov. 3: sources

[THE INVESTOR] Apple’s latest iPhone 8 series is expected to be released in South Korea on Nov. 3, with reservations starting at the end of the month, according to industry insiders on Oct. 8.

Apple Korea is expected to open reservations for the new iPhone 8 via the country’s top three mobile carriers on Oct. 27, they added.

Apple’s iPhone 8

Korea will be among the iPhone’s third installment of international releases, following its global debut on Sept. 22. 

The new iPhone 8 is Apple’s first phone series to be equipped with the company’s latest processor, the A11 Bionic — Apple’s first internally designed graphics processing unit, which the firm says is 30 percent faster than processors used in the previous iPhone 7 series.

However, according to industry analysts, the overall response toward the latest series has been lukewarm compared to its predecessors.

Jun Zhang, a Wall Street analyst at Rosenblatt Securities, said in a recent report that the number of iPhone 8 preorders in the US has fallen sharply compared to previous orders for the iPhone 6 and 7.

The price of the iPhone 8 starts at $699, while the listed price tag for the 8 Plus starts at $799. In Korea, the starting price of the new 8 series is expected to be roughly 1 million won ($873), including VAT.

By Julie Jackson / The Korea Herald (

juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)[1]

References

  1. ^ juliejackson@heraldcorp.com (www.theinvestor.co.kr)