The beginning of April is, supposedly, the start of Spring, the start of the new financial year, and most importantly to some, the countdown to Easter holidays. And while we’re more than happy to see the end of winter, there are a few things that come in April that are less than welcome, namely price increases for your broadband and mobile contract.
In most cases, broadband and mobile providers increase their monthly rates in line with inflation at this time of year. These incremental increases often go unnoticed, but even if they are, there’s not much customers can do about them since they’re included in the T&Cs of most contracts. Therefore, you most likely won’t be able to switch mid-contract.
This year, Sky, Virgin, BT and most UK mobile networks will be increasing their rates at or around inflation. However, there are a few cases that result in more significant price hikes, which will be grounds for breaking your contract. If this is the case you will have 30 days from being notified to shop around and switch to a new deal, so don’t wait too long to switch.
Here are some of the confirmed price hikes coming in April:
Sky will be increasing its prices significantly from 1st April, but only on one particular package. Those customers who subscribe to Sky’s basic Essential service will see an increase of £2 a month, which takes the total cost of the service to £24 a month or £288 a year.
This increase is above the 2% threshold that lines up with inflation, meaning that if this price hike affects you you’ll be able to break your contract and cancel your subscription, so long as you do so within 30 days of being notified.
Note: It’s important to remember that the terms and conditions of Sky’s pay-TV services are different from those of their broadband and mobile services. If you’re hit with a price jump for Sky TV, that doesn’t qualify as a breach of contract and you won’t be able to switch penalty-free if you’re still in contract.
BT price rises are in-line with January’s consumer price index (CPI) figure, which comes in at 1.3%. While this is a fairly small amount and one that won’t allow you to cancel your contract prematurely, it does mean that out-of-contract customers on BT’s unlimited broadband package will be paying £46.08, one of the highest in the whole country.
Again, BT’s pay TV packages aren’t subject to the same rules, as BT regularly increases the cost of its lucrative BT Sport subscription. In July 2019, it raised the cost by as much as £4 per month in some cases.
In contrast, BT subsidiary Plusnet is set to increase the prices by £2 a month in some of its packages. However, this is likely to take place later in the year, so keep an eye out for a letter or email from your provider if you’re a Plusnet customer.
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Virgin Mobile is planning to remove a number of its old pay-monthly tariffs, including a few SIM-only packages. This is set to impact roughly 140,000 customers, forcing them to move to similar, but more expensive tariffs if they choose to remain with Virgin Mobile.
While Virgin says its customers will be moved to the closest equivalent tariff, this could still result in an annual increase of £80 for some, although most will face price hikes of less than £7 per month, according to Virgin.
If this is the case, you will be able to switch to a new provider as long as you notify Virgin of your decision to leave before 31st March.
Virgin Mobile increases its annual prices in line with the retail price index (RPI) which are announced in April and come into effect in July. These will be alongside the scheduled price increases for Virgin Media products, such as home phone, broadband and TV packages, which last year went up by as much as 4.9%.
The biggest hit for Giffgaff customers is for those on its standard pay-as-you-go deal. In January, the network announced it would increase the price of calls and double the price of texts for those customers.
Texts are now double to price at 10p each, while phone calls to UK mobiles and landlines have jumped from 15p a minute to 25p a minute.
Three will increase the cost of its pay-monthly and SIM-only charges by 2.7% in line with RPI, which is notably higher than the CPI figure used by some providers. This price hike will not take place until May.
Like Three, O2 is planning an increase of its pay-monthly and sim-only mobile bills in line with RPI. The 2.7% increase will come into effect in April.
EE announced that there will be a 2.2% price hike coming into place for mobile customers by the end of March. This increase could add up to £2.29 a month to those on some of EE’s more expensive contracts.
Vodafone is a similar story, announcing the same RPI-based price increase for its pay-monthly mobile customers coming into effect in late March.
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While it seems like everyone is increasing their costs, there are a few providers that have committed to keeping their price still this year. Tesco Mobile, TalkTalk and Zen are three major networks that aren’t planning any in-contract price increase in 2020.
In most of these cases, there is an option to switch to a new provider, which is almost always going to get you a cheaper price on your broadband, home phone, or mobile contract.
And in many cases, a new broadband deal could give you a better service as well as a cheaper price.
If you’re already paying £46 a month on a rolling contract with BT, for example, you could easily cut your bill in half by switching to a new fibre broadband service for between £21-£23 a month from another provider.
If your handset is paid for and you don’t see any reason to discard it just yet, then it makes sense to switch to a SIM-only contract for your calls, text and data. If you are free to switch mobile provider, a good benchmark is that you probably shouldn’t be paying more than £10 a month. (There are plenty of SIM-only deals on Uswitch where you can get up to 8GB of data for less than £10!)
If you switch to a new network you can also take your current number with you, simply by sending a text message to your provider. You’ll be done in a few minutes and could save yourself a tidy sum throughout the year.
Thinking of switching your broadband or mobile provider? Find the right deal for you with Uswitch.