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Vodafone Hikes Rates

10:20 AM -- Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) signaled just how much it is feeling the pinch from the slowing economy and relentless regulatory pressure on prices with this week's news that it will increase call charges up to 50 percent in the U.K.

Last month, Vodafone warned that the global economic slowdown would put a dent in its sales for the rest of its fiscal year, and it was already feeling the effects of consumers tightening their belts in Spain and the U.K. So Vodafone's fix in the U.K. for the prospects of lower sales is to raise prices. (See Vodafone Wobbles on Outlook.)

Almost all of Vodafone's U.K. customers will see their bills increase by less than 10 percent, the operator told The Financial Times. But the price hikes only affect calls made outside customers' bundles of minutes.

For example, call charges will go up from 10 pence (US$0.18) to 15 pence ($0.28) for any calls that are not included in their monthly contract. Pay-as-you-go subscribers' calls will go up from 12 pence ($0.22) to 15 pence ($0.28).

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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