UK Broadband Price Hikes: What You Need to Know
Millions of broadband and mobile phone customers in the UK will face higher bills this spring, as most operators are raising their prices by more than the inflation rate. In this article will explain the reasons behind the price hikes, how they will affect different customers, and what you can do to fight back or switch providers.
Why are broadband prices going up?
Broadband providers usually increase their prices every year in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the changes in the cost of living. However, some providers, such as BT, EE, Plusnet, TalkTalk and Vodafone, have recently changed their terms and conditions to allow them to raise their prices by the CPI plus an additional percentage, ranging from 3 to 3.9%.
This means that their price hikes will be nearly double the inflation rate, which was 4% in December 2023.
The providers claim that the extra charges are necessary to cover the costs of improving their networks and services, as well as to cope with the increased demand for broadband and mobile data during the pandemic. However, consumer groups and regulators have criticised the price hikes as unfair and excessive, especially for customers who are locked in long-term contracts.
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How much more will you pay?
The amount of extra money you will have to pay depends on your provider, your plan, and when you signed up for your contract. According to consumer experts at Which?, customers who took out a contract in January 2023 could see some of the highest average price hikes, such as £147.43 for BT and £147.31 for EE. Customers who signed up later in the year or have a different plan may see lower or higher increases.
The price hikes will take effect from March or April 2023, depending on your provider. You should receive a notification from your provider at least one month before the change, informing you of the new price and your rights.
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3 Steps to avoid the price hikes?
If you are unhappy with the price hikes, you have several options to reduce your bills or switch to a cheaper provider. Here are some tips to help you:
- Check your contract terms and conditions. If you are still within your minimum contract period, you may be able to cancel your contract without paying a penalty, as long as you do so within 30 days of receiving the notification from your provider. However, this option may not be available for some providers, such as Vodafone and Three, who have included the CPI plus clause in their contracts since 2020.
- Negotiate with your provider. If you are out of your minimum contract period, or you cannot cancel without a penalty, you can try to haggle with your provider for a better deal. You can use the price hikes as a bargaining chip, and mention any cheaper offers from other providers. You can also ask for any discounts, loyalty rewards, or free extras or upgrades that your provider may offer.
- Switch to a different provider. If you are not satisfied with your current provider, or you find a better deal elsewhere, you can switch to a different provider. You can use comparison websites, such as uSwitch or MoneySuperMarket, to find the best broadband and mobile deals for your needs. You can also check the customer service and reliability ratings of different providers, as well as the speed and coverage of their networks. Before you switch, make sure you check the cancellation fees, the contract length, and the terms and conditions of your new provider.
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