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No price rises mid-contract, Vodafone promises

"We promise the monthly price you pay will stay the same for the period of your contract term," the big red network says.

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Martin Good/Shutterstock

Sick of your phone company putting up its prices halfway through your contract? Vodafone today promises it won't do that ever again.

"We asked our customers what they thought was fair when it came to charging, and the clear majority told us that it was unacceptable to increase monthly prices during the contract term," said Cindy Rose, the company's Consumer Director. "So from now on, when you sign up with us, a deal's a deal, and we promise the monthly price you pay will stay the same for the period of your contract term, provided you stick within your allowance."

The deal applies to all contract customers on the big red network, whatever the length of their contract, and for tablet as well as phone customers too.

There are caveats of course -- the main one being that it's only the line rental that's been fixed. Everything else on your phone bill could still be tweaked upwards.

"In line with Ofcom guidance we may still change prices outside of the monthly line rental agreement," Vodafone said in a statement to CNET. "These would include calls to premium rate numbers, non-geographic numbers and calls, texts and data use outside of allowances as set out in a customer's line rental agreement."

Kicking a bugbear in the teeth

"Signing up to a contract, only to get told mid-way through that prices are going up is a proverbial kick in the teeth and has been a bugbear for consumers for a long time," said Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com.

"It's a welcome move and clearly a result of Ofcom's announcement which came into force in January that enabled customers to walk away from mid-contract prices hikes," Doku said. "Hopefully this step will make other providers follow suit, but for now, Vodafone and Three are leading the way."

Last month EE, and its associated brands Orange and T-Mobile, announced it was putting prices up by 2.7 percent, the maximum allowable under Ofcom rules. The UK telecom regulator allows phone companies to raise prices up to the Retail Price Index, an official measure of inflation -- beyond that, you're allowed to cancel your contract and walk away without penalty.