11m face 17.3% broadband bill rise next month – how to avoid hike

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Millions of broadband and mobile customers are facing bill rises of up to 17.3 percent next month. The majority of broadband providers don’t allow customers to leave penalty-free if prices rise so many will have to pay a fee to move to a better deal.

However, an expert has spoken exclusively to Express.co.uk about the ways people may be able to avoid these price hikes.

Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at Uswitch.com explained that millions of broadband and mobile customers across the country have already started receiving letters, texts or emails from their providers confirming mid-contract price increases.

Most of the major broadband and mobile providers have these increases written into their contracts, so unfortunately, customers agreed to the rises when they signed up.

It should be noted all providers calculate increases in the same way. Generally, they will use one of two inflation rates that are published each January.

As the cost of living crisis continues, many people will be wondering if they can make any savings.

Mr Doku is urging Britons to check if they can make savings before April with a few money-saving tips.

He said: “Uswitch data shows that nearly as many as 11 million broadband customers may be outside of their initial contract period.

If you are one of the many, you could switch to a new deal now and avoid above-inflation price hikes this April.

“If you sign up for a new broadband package with TalkTalk, Shell and Vodafone before April, you won’t face a price rise until April 2024.”

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Britons who are mid-contract are encouraged to read their terms and conditions, check if they can change providers, and if they’ll be charged an exit fee for switching – usually calculated as the monthly fee for the remaining period.

If there is a charge, people can compare this to how much extra they’ll pay with the price increases. Paying the exit fee may still be cheaper in the long term.

He stressed the importance of individuals trying to find a better deal.

Mr Doku continued: “Run a comparison online to see your alternative options. Be sure to assess your needs in regards to broadband speeds so you don’t pay for more than you need, but there are plenty of introductory perks and benefits to make switching an appealing option.

“Even if you can’t switch, sign up to Uswitch emails for the latest deals and up-to-date consumer information on the broadband and mobile market.This will give you the information you need to make the right choice when you can switch in future.”

If people find themselves in financial difficulty, they should not suffer in silence.

People should raise the issue with their providers as they may be able to negotiate a better deal.

Lastly, Britons should check if they’re eligible for social tariffs.

Mr Doku said: “You may be eligible to sign up for social tariffs if you’re in receipt of certain state benefits.

“These are designed to ensure everyone has access to modern-day utilities such as broadband. Major providers such as EE, Virgin and Vodafone offer connectivity from £12.00 with no set-up fees – and no mid-contract price increases.”

In January 2023, the RPI was 13.4 percent and the CPI was 10.5 percent. This means that customers are at risk of facing increases of up to 17.3 percent this April.

Mr Doku explained if someone is paying £20 a month for their mobile deal and receiving the most common increase by mobile providers of 14.4 percent – which is the CPI of 10.5 percent + 3.9 percent- they would pay an additional £2.88 per month.

This works out to an extra £34.56 per year.

He continued: “If you’re paying £50 a month for broadband, you’d be paying an extra £86.40 a year, or £7.20 per month. Our data show as many as 11 million broadband customers may be out of their initial contract period, and as such, do have options available.

“If you are out of contract, you could switch to a new deal now and avoid above-inflation price hikes this April. Some providers, including TalkTalk, Shell and Vodafone say customers signing up to new broadband packages in March can skip this year’s price rise altogether”.

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