We all know the slight feeling of dread as we sign up to a ridiculously long contract on our mobiles, after all, what if we don’t like it? What if a newer, shinier phone, comes out in the meantime? This predicament could soon be a thing of the past however, thanks to a new EU ruling.
The legislation is set to into effect in May and will put a permanent end to 36 month contracts, with 24 months being set as the absolute maximum.
Figures from comparison site uSwitch show that longer contracts are now the norm with 676,000 18 month deals and 939,000 listed on its site compared to just 279 12-month deals.
With the new breed of smartphones coming with impressive specs and worth up to £600, it’s not really surprising that the cost needs to be spread out over a long period of time.
Ernest Doku, of consumer site uSwitch, says: “Smartphones have proved great bait for providers in not only snaring new customers, but in making them commit to a longer contract.”
“As a general rule, the longer the contract, the lower the monthly fee, so it’s not surprising that consumers are getting tied in, especially given the current financial constraints most are experiencing.
But, while long contracts help spread the cost of expensive handsets, it’s alarming to see how popular 36 month deals have become.”
As well as banning 36 month contracts the legislation will also mean that consumers will get the option to take out a 12 month contract if they so wish.
Doku added: “It’s no bad thing that the EU is culling these deals in their infancy – three years is a lifetime in the world of tech.
“Consumers could easily find themselves saddled with an obsolete phone, not to mention a contract that no longer suits their needs.”
What do you think of the new legislation? Do you think higher monthly costs are outweighed by the flexibility of contracts?