Incoming MMS price hike: Three asks customers to use WhatsApp and Skype

While customers of Three have so far enjoyed lower prices of sending an MMS, the carrier will hike its rates from June 13 to be at par with EE, O2 and Vodafone in terms of MMS pricing.

To help its customers avoid paying more for sending MMS from June 13, Three has advised them to use free services like WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook Messenger.

Currently, Vodafone, EE and O2 charge 45p, 40p and 35p respectively for MMS services but Three charges only 17p. However, Three will hike the charges to 40p, probably signalling the end of the not-so-popular MMS service. In a statement to Ars Technica, Three said that the hike 'follows a regular review of pricing.'

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"There are other ways to send multimedia messages whilst keeping the costs at bay. Mobile applications are probably the most popular method. In fact some of them, like Skype are preloaded on most of our phones," Three said.

"Also, all of our tariffs include internet allowance so using applications like Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Viber to name a few, for sending MMS will use the data included in your package," the operator added.

Three's helpful advise to its customers signals a change of heart following a spate of price hikes as well as closure of the popular £17 All You Can Eat monthly plan. Those who subscribed to the plan have been asked to switch over to a more expensive £30 a month deal. As per CCS Insight, Three hiked its monthly pricing because unlimited data plans are nearing their end thanks to an exponential rise in data usage by consumers.

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"The networks are seeing huge growth in data consumption as people watch more video content at ever-higher resolutions on their smartphones. At some point certain all-you-can-eat tariffs become uneconomical," he said to the BBC.

Late last year, Three also increased access charges to service numbers like 084, 087, 09 and 118 by as much as 80 per cent, thanks to which making a call to a service number now costs as much as 45p per minute. The hike, which was implemented by all major network operators, followed a decision by Ofcom which mandated access charges and service charges to be shown separately in monthly bills.

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