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Annual statements for broadband and mobiles could save brits over £2 billion a year

  • Annual statements would encourage 39% of mobile and 40% of broadband users to shop around for better deals – potentially saving 16 million Brits (33%) almost £260 a year

  • Nearly nine in ten broadband customers (87%) want annual statements to show their contract end dates

  • Four in ten consumers (40%)**don’t know that they could save up to almost £60 a year by paying line rental upfront – having this information on an annual statement could collectively save Brits over £120 million a year**

  • A massive 89% of broadband and 86% of mobile customers want to see a prediction of what they would pay next year if they didn’t switch.

With many consumers struggling to pay their bills, Uswitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service, is calling on Ofcom to follow the energy regulator’s lead and force telecoms providers to introduce annual statements – which could help four in ten mobile and broadband customers save money on their bills. New research reveals that, with savings of up to £257 a year to be made by switching mobile and broadband services, annual statements could save consumers more than a staggering £2 billion a year.

According to the research, nine in ten (87%) consumers would like annual statements to show when their contracts end. This could help the third of Brits (31%) who are not happy with their broadband but don’t switch because they don’t know when their contracts end. More importantly, almost a quarter (24%) of those who didn’t leave when their contracts ended saw their bills go up, so reminding consumers of this information could help Brits collectively save over £500 million.

But annual statements could also benefit those who don’t want to switch. Paying for your line rental upfront can save consumers an average of £51 a year. However, only a quarter of consumers (25%) do this and four in ten (40%) don’t even know they can make this saving. Making this option clearer on an annual statement – either as an offer or as part of a customer’s predicted bill – could save Brits over £120 million collectively.

In terms of what broadband customers would like to see on an annual statement, 89% would use information about their monthly cost and what they would pay next year if they didn’t switch – hardly surprising considering that 84% of broadband deals include an introductory offer. They would also like to know about new broadband deals from their provider (88%), and recommendations of their provider’s best deals based on their usage (87%).

Likewise, the most useful information on a mobile annual statement would be monthly cost and what customers would pay next year (86%), as well as other deals from their provider (85%), the date their contract ends (85%) and recommendations of the best deal for them based on individual usage (85%).

The research shows that consumers want clarity and consistency when it comes to annual statements, with a quarter of broadband (23%) and mobile customer (24%) insisting on a template which all providers should use. Easy-to-understand annual statements would also make a third of broadband (34%) and mobile customers (31%) feel more empowered and engaged, which could boost competition and also help build greater trust and transparency in the industry.

Marie-Louise Abretti, telecoms expert at Uswitch.com, says: “Keeping on top of bills is getting tougher for many consumers – especially those who no longer get paper copies. And, although many people know there are savings to be made by switching broadband or mobile deals, we often don’t get that gentle nudge to remind us.

“An annual statement would ensure that everyone gets a paper bill at least once a year – which for many would be the only time they check their account. As well as keeping consumers updated on their usage and bills, it could also serve as a reminder of how much they could save and when they’re free to shop around. That prompt could be just what some people need to get them more engaged and make them check that they’re on the best deal.

“What is clear is that, with broadband now the fourth essential, the communications sector must learn from the energy market and introduce annual statements that are fit-for-purpose as soon as possible. Informed customers are likely to feel more confident that they’re getting the best deal and more engaged with the market – which could help them make real savings on their bills.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Katherine Moss

Phone: 020 3021 5893

Email: katherine.moss@uswitch.com

Twitter: @uswitchPR

Notes to editors

Unless otherwise stated, research carried out online with the Uswitch consumer opinion panel amongst 1,649 adults in June 2013.

  1. When asked ‘Thinking about getting an annual statement from your broadband/ mobile provider, which of the following do you agree with? 38.9% of mobile and 39.8% of broadband customers said “I would be more likely to shop around for a better deal’. 33% said this for both broadband and mobile.

  2. Research conducted online by One Poll for Uswitch.com in July 2012 with 2,000 UK adults with home broadband: When asked, “How much did you save by switching providers” 62% said they saved money and the average amount was £120.12 per year. From research conducted online by uSwitch.com in May 2012 amongst 2,165 mobile users on monthly contracts, the average monthly saving from switching was £11.38. 38.9% of the 22,089,200 mobile customers could save £136.56 a year (£1.173 billion) and 39.8% of the 21.7 million broadband customers could save £120.12 a year (£1.037billion). In total this equates to £2.21 billion.

  3. When asked “If you received an annual statement from your BROADBAND provider, how useful would the following information be:” ‘The date my contract ends’ 87.4% said they who would find it useful; ‘Monthly cost and what I will likely pay next year if I don't switch’ 88.8% said they who would find it useful; ‘New broadband deals from my provider’ 88.2% said they would find it useful; ‘Recommendations of my providers best deal for me based on my needs/ usage’ 87.2% said they would find it useful.

  4. From nationally representative research carried out online with One Poll in January 2013 amongst 2,000 UK adults. When asked “Are you aware that if you pay for your telephone line rental upfront for a year it is cheaper than paying for it monthly?” 25% said ‘Yes– and I do this’; 40% said ‘No - I wasn’t aware’. Saving based on TalkTalk’s line rental saver costing £126 for 12 months compared to paying line rental monthly costing £184.80 - representing a saving of £58.80.The average cost of paying line rental monthly is £179.64, but paying upfront average £127.68 - representing an average saving on £51.96.

  5. If annual statements had information about line rental savers, and just a quarter of customers took up the offer (based on the current 24% who know and do it) and based on there being 23.872 million line rental connections, collectively Brits could save £121.7 million.

  6. When asked “If you received an annual statement from your MOBILE provider, how useful would the following information be:” ‘The date my contract ends’ 86.1% said they would find it useful; ‘Monthly cost and what I will likely pay next year if I don't switch’ 85.8% said they would find it useful; ‘Other mobile deals from my provider’ 84.8% said they would find it useful; ‘Recommendations of my providers best deal for me based on my needs/ usage’ 84.9% said they would find it useful.

  7. From research carried out online by OnePoll amongst 2,000 respondents in April 2013. When asked When asked “Why didn't you switch broadband provider at the end of the contract?” of those who weren’t happy with the cost of service, 31% said it was because they didn’t know when their contract ran out. When asked “Which of the following happened when your most recent contract ended?” of those who didn’t switch, 24% of people saw their bills go up.

  8. Based on there being 21.7 million broadband connections in the UK. 62% of broadband customers who switched saved an average of £120.08. 31% could save by switching if they knew when their contract ended. Therefore collectively the savings could be £500.99 million

  9. Source: Uswitch.com. Based on the top 25 broadband deals.

  10. When asked “Thinking about getting an annual statement from your broadband/ mobile provider, which of the following do you agree with:” 22.6% of mobile and 23.6% of broadband customers said ‘There would need to be a template which all providers used’; 34% of broadband and 31% of mobile customers said “It would help me feel more empowered’ AND ‘I would feel more engaged with my bills’.

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