Omio News Blog

VAT Increase Pushes Up Cost Of Mobile Bills: How It Affects You

Today marks a rise in the cost of VAT in the UK from 17.5% to 20%, and it’s a price hike that will hit every shopper in the pocket to some degree. With everything from consumer goods to gym memberships due for a significant price hike, it is now a more pertinent time than ever to shop around for a decent deal. Shops on the high streets and websites alike have already changed their line-up to reflect these changes, but many are offering short-term deals and special offers in an attempt to redress the balance in your wallet.

Even the humble mobile phone isn’t safe, with all of the major networks taking the January 4th increase as an opportunity to pass on the cost to consumers’ bills and handset prices alike, with some passing on more than others…


The colourful network has been kind enough to freeze prices permanently on prepay phone deals and mobile broadband, whilst all pay monthly tariffs, deals and out of bundle charges will increase by the 20% VAT rise. Silver lining? Pricing for Orange home broadband is also on ice until March 31st, allowing for sans-VAT surfing for at least a couple more months.

Check out how the VAT increase will affect your Orange bill here.


All of O2′s pay monthly offerings, deals and out of bundle charges are subject to the 20% VAT bump, with the price of a text message rising from 10p to 12p. As for prepay, SIMplicity tariff owners have their prices frozen until the end of March, but the price of texts go up for pay as you go fans too, apparently allowing for other tariff charges to stay the same.

Full details regarding O2′s price changes here.


Vodafone have also jumped into the price rise party, offering much the same VAT-led increases to pay monthly and pay-as-you-go deals alike. However, they have introduced a new daily data rate of just £1 for 100MB, making things a bit fairer for those not currently with data in their plan (although not nearly as cheap as opting for a data bundle).

Go here to see an exhaustive rundown of Vodafone’s tariffs and changes, both pre- and post-VAT.


Whilst pay monthly subscribers ring in all of the VAT changes at the stroke of midnight on the 4th of Jan, PAYG consumers get a similar deal to those on o2 – the cost of a text is to rise (in this case from 10p to 11p), whilst all other charges remain fixed in place. Not too shabby…

Check out the full list of pricing changes from T-Mobile here.


Prices go up across the board for Three, with both pay monthly and prepay customers bearing the brunt of the 20% VAT increase in their bills.

Virgin Media

All deals have been rounded up for the 20% VAT, but the saddest part is the demise of Virgin’s £8.68 for 100 minutes and 100 texts pay monthly tariff, with a costlier £10.21 deal now residing as cheapest.

Check out Virgin’s pay monthly changes here.

As always, we say shop around for a good deal. 2.5% doesn’t sound like much, but for every call, every text and every new package you opt for, it could quickly add up if you are currently on a spendthrift’s tariff. Look at all of the costs associated with your preferred mobile deal, and do some comparative research before you buy.


Ernest Doku