Virgin Media’s broadband, TV and home phone customers are facing potential price hikes later in the year as the telecoms provider makes changes to its monthly rates.
The price increase could affect up to five million customers, adding as much as £54 per year to their bill. Though Virgin Media hasn’t released a full list of its impending price increases, the company has stated that most customers will see their monthly bill increase by around £2.50 to £4.50.
The new pricing structure is set to be introduced after the summer, coming into effect for either September or October bills. As this is the second price hike announced in the last 10 months, Virgin Media is making sure that all of its customers are well-informed about the price increase, writing to customers directly from 1st July to inform them of how they will be affected.
This will be the second year in a row that the broadband provider has raised its prices, increasing its customers’ average bills by 4.5% in 2018. A further 250,000 Virgin Mobile customers also saw their tariff rates increase in April this year.
As it did last year, Virgin Media has announced that those customers affected by the price increase will have the option to end their contract without paying any early termination charges.
Customers wishing to switch will need to contact Virgin Media within 30 days of receiving the notification of their price increase.
Not all Virgin Media customers will be affected by the impending rise in prices. Customers who signed up to any of the company’s ‘Oomph’ packages — which bundle together different broadband, TV and mobile phone deals — won’t be affected by the price increase, provided they signed up from 29 April 2019. Other plans that are exempt from the price hike are the Talk Protected plans for over-65s and those with accessibility needs.
Affected customers may be able to secure cheaper broadband or broadband and TV deals by switching to a new provider before the increase comes into effect. Depending on what’s available in their area, however, some customers may find it difficult to match the broadband speeds they currently get from Virgin Media as the provider offers some of the fastest broadband speeds to customers via its cable network.
There could be any number of reasons for Virgin Media to raise its prices, the most likely of which is the current slew of upgrades the company is making to its network and service. In recent months, Virgin Media has been boosting its upload speeds as well as continually adding to its cable network in order to give customers across the country faster, more reliable broadband service.
These changes — in addition to pressure from industry regulators to adopt systems for automatic compensation for lost broadband connectivity — will mean higher operating costs; costs that the company will ultimately end up passing along to the consumer.
A spokesperson for Virgin Media said: “Changing prices is not a decision we take lightly. We invest more than £1billion a year in our network and services to keep giving our customers great value.
“We continue to do more for our customers and lead the way with the fastest broadband speeds – now reaching 500Mbps with gigabit speeds launching soon – giving them the worry-free ability to stream, game, shop and chat on multiple devices whenever, wherever and however they want.
“As well as increasing speeds for our customers, we’ve launched new Intelligent WiFi features to improve in-home connectivity and automatically solve issues, as well as putting our best TV box and router into millions of homes. Our customers are doing more with their connectivity, with data use increasing by almost 40% each year and video streaming accounting for more than 60% of traffic.
"Despite a 300% increase in business rates, which is a direct tax on our ultrafast network, we continue to support this demand with our ongoing investment.
“We are committed to giving our customers an incredible service with unrivalled connectivity, great, high-quality programming and innovative new upgrades – and our customers can expect much more to come.”
Keep an eye out for any correspondence from Virgin Media, and if you find out that you will be affected, you will have a month to shop around for the latest broadband deals. And since Virgin Media are waiving any early termination fees, you have the option to switch consequence-free if you find a better deal elsewhere.