Yes it’s true. Many have realised it. First it was those £35 per month plans that never seen to work out at £35 when the bill comes in, and now Vodafone is causing quite a stir by switching to per minute billing.
It’s a practice already employed by Orange and T-Mobile (though not by O2 or Virgin Mobile, who still charge by the second with a one minute minimum charge) but Voda are coming under fire from their Pay As You Go customers after deciding to switch to per-minute billing.
The important change here is that calls will be rounded up. It’s something a lot of “cheap” landline providers use as many calls can only be seconds long – for example when hitting someone’s voicemail system. Drop the call and, even if it’s a 3 second call, you’re charged for a whole minute. Mobile networks already charge for one minute anyway, no matter how much of that first minute you use. Now the new changes by Voda, which have been sold as “making things simpler”, mean that customers no longer get “confused” when seeing their talk allowance – typically sold in minutes – getting fragmented into seconds.
Now a call lasting one minute and 5 seconds will remove two minutes from your package, and a call lasting 2 minutes and 27 seconds will remove 3 minutes.
Unfortunately, if you look in the small print of many home phone providers offering cheap bundled calls, you’ll find that they charge in minutes, not seconds. You’ll also find that yes, mobile networks also like to make money and, if you’re on a Vodafone Pay As You Go deal, you’re probably going to end up paying more.