O2 and Virgin Mobile to hike bills by as much as £48 from April – how to avoid

O2 AND Virgin Media are hiking bills by as much as £48 a year from April.The mobile operators will raise prices for some pay monthly customers by up to 11.7% amid the cost of living crisis.
1O2 mobile bills are set to rise from April 1 this yearCredit: Alamy
Both networks, which are part of the same company, use the rate of RPI announced in February plus 3.9% to work out bill increases.
It was announced this morning that RPI, which is a measure of inflation, is 7.8% – so the total rise will be 11.7%.
It will come into effect from April 1, 2022.
The jump comes as Brits are struggling with the soaring cost of living, with energy, food and tax bills all increasing this year.
How much more you’ll have to pay will depend on which network you’re with, what type of contract you have and when you signed up.
We explain how much your bills are set to rise this year.
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O2 customers are facing hikes of up to 11.7%, but it could be less if you’ve been with the network for more than a year.
If you joined before March 25 last year you don’t have to pay the extra 3.9% – so the rise will be capped at 7.8%.
If you’re an O2 Refresh customer, the rise will only be applied to the “airtime” portion of your bill, not the device.
The majority of O2’s customers are on Refresh deals, the network said.
For example, an iPhone Pro Max 5G with unlimited data on a 24-month contract currently costs £89.75 a month.
Of that, £35 is the airtime portion, which is impacted by the 11.7% rise.
That means it will increase by £4.01 a month – rising £48.12 a year.
In comparison, last year’s rise was just 1.4%, with a maximum of £5.88 added across the year.
The network also increased prices in August last year, raising the cost of texts and calls made outside of your contract.
An O2 spokesperson said: “We recognise price changes are never welcome, and always balance keeping our prices competitive with the need to continue investing in the services that our customers use and love.
“For most customers the price increase only applies to the airtime part of their bill and with our most popular tariffs costing from as little as 33p per day for superfast data with unlimited minutes and texts, our customers receive incredible value as well as extra perks such as Priority.” 
Virgin Mobile
Virgin Mobile contracts are also split into airtime and device plans.
But all Virgi …