People who lose their phones should pay only £50 of the bill incurred by thieves, Culture secretary Maria Miller has said.
Miller said the government was “ensuring hardworking families are not hit with shock bills through no fault of their own”. The cap, that could be implemented as early as spring next year, would be similar to debit and credit card limits.
Ministers have discussed the proposals with BT, Sky, TalkTalk, EE, 3, Virgin Media and Vodafone.
Jo Swinson, the consumer affairs minister, said: “Most people now place large parts of their lives on their mobile phones — from friends and loved ones’ numbers, to photos of great nights out.
“The last thing you need after the hassle of a stolen mobile is to find that someone has used it and landed you with a sky-high bill too.
“Phone companies have listened to the government and to their customers and I welcome their agreement to protect them from unexpected costs and mid-contract price rises.”