Mobile network provider Three has delivered a blow to new customers by scrapping its pledge to freeze bills for the duration of a customer's contract.
A Three spokesperson has confirmed that any customers who joined after the 29th of May this year will face an annual hike of anywhere up to the RPI rate of inflation. This currently stands at 0.9%, but has risen above 5% in recent years.
Previously, the company had pledged to follow guidance issued by regulator Ofcom and not increase prices during a fixed-term contract, which can last up to 24 months.
Back in January 2014, Three said: "Your fixed monthly recurring fee from Three will not go up in the minimum term of your contract. We support Ofcom's approach to fixing the price for pay monthly contracts for their duration. We think it's only fair that customers should have clarity around costs when they sign up to a contract."
You can see a screengrab of that particular pledge below.
It will no doubt frustrate new customers, knowing they are being treated differently to those who signed up just days earlier.
"We have reviewed our approach"
Three has claimed the hikes are necessary to help maintain investment in its network. The full statement reads as follows:
"We know mid-contract price increases are frustrating but as they are still common practice and we operate in one of the most competitive mobile markets in the world, we have reviewed our approach.
"In the present market, we feel re-introducing mid-contract price increases for new contracts signed on or after 29 May is the best way of maintaining investment in our award winning network and of offering benefits which customers really value, like 4G and roaming at no extra cost in 18 countries.
"We will ensure everyone who enters into a contract with us understands fully how and when the cost of their contract will change."
Rival networks have been swift to capitalise on the announcement, with a Tesco Mobile spokesperson telling AOL Money:
"As a network we believe customers should never have to face unexpected costs. There is no reason for a network to break its pledge to customers and we intend to continue honouring our promise."
What do you think of the decision? Will this make you less likely to join Three? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.