Press release:

Broadband customers urged to use Black Friday to avoid sleepwalking into £180 bill increase

  • With several 18 month broadband deals coming to an end this month, households could see broadband bills increase by up to 55%[1]or £180 per year[2]
  • One million mobile customers that purchased a deal combining handset and tariff continue paying the full contract price – even after the contract ends[3]
  • Customers with an iPhone 6S or Samsung Galaxy S6 contract purchased on or before Black Friday 2015 could be about to fall out of contract, meaning they can switch and save[4]
  • Millions could make significant savings and benefit from improved service as broadband providers and mobile phone networks get ready to battle it out for new customers this Black Friday
  • uSwitch.com urges consumers to check when their current contract expires to see whether a Black Friday deal could be beneficial.

Broadband and mobile customers are being encouraged to urgently look into when their contract expires, by uSwitch.com, the price comparison and switching service, to avoid a significant broadband price increase or overpaying for their mobile.

Four popular 18-month broadband deals expire in November, and those that take no action could see their annual bill rise by more than £180 (or £15.01 per month)[2] as they roll into ‘out of contract’ pricing.

Meanwhile with 10 popular pay-monthly and SIM-only deals due to end this month, mobile customers are being urged to check their contract. At the end of a 12 or 24 month contract, that combines a handset and tariff, the phone will technically be paid off. However in most cases the cost of the contract won’t be reduced and Ofcom estimates that one million of these customers continue paying the full contract price even after the contract ends[3]. Those that are happy with their device could save hundreds of pounds a year by switching to a SIM-only deal.

Vodafone customers, for example, who started their contract in November 2015 are paying £39 per month for an iPhone 6S with 6GB data, unlimited minutes and texts. This popular 24-month contract is due to end this month and customers could make significant monthly savings of £23 – or £276 annually –  if they keep hold of their handset and switch to a similar SIM-only contract on Vodafone[5]. There could be even better deals available for Black Friday.

Both broadband and mobile phone customers need to act now if they want to take maximum advantage of this year’s Black Friday deals as they will need to give 30 days’ notice to their current provider or network in order to cancel their agreement – even if it has gone out of contract.

 Ernest Doku, broadband and mobiles expert at uSwitch.com, says: “Broadband and mobile customers could be about to sleepwalk into paying more for their mobile and their broadband than they need to – something made all the more painful when you consider the flurry of Black Friday deals that are about to hit the market.

“It’s worth taking just a couple of minutes to check if you’re out of contract. Checking now could prevent you slipping into an increased out of contract price for your broadband service or paying the same monthly fee for your mobile, despite the fact you’ve technically already paid off the cost of the handset.

“If your contract has expired, you could be amongst the thousands of savvy shoppers set to snap up a bargain as mobile phone networks and broadband providers compete to offer the best Black Friday deals.

“If you’re out of contract and you haven’t done so already, now is the time to give your 30 days notice. For mobiles, there may a few weeks crossover of the two services so do your sums to keep double-paying to a minimum. However, in many cases, the overall financial saving, getting a new new handset or improved service will make it worthwhile. If you’re a broadband customer whose contract is up, give your provider 30 days notice now and request a delayed installation to make sure you’re not paying for two contracts at the same time.

“While it’s easy to get whipped up by the hype, before you commit, always take a couple of minutes to compare the deal you’ve found to make sure you’re really getting bang for your buck. It’s also worth checking the total cost of ownership and taking into account any vouchers or freebies to make sure it really is great value.

“It’s also important to read the small print of any contract so you know exactly what you’re signing up to. For example, in order to reduce the monthly fee for premium handsets such as the new iPhone X some providers are now offering 36 month contracts instead of 12 or 24, meaning you’ll be locked in on the handset – and responsible for the monthly payments – for a full three years. There are great deals to be had, but as ever, it pays to do your research if you want to be a super savvy shopper this Black Friday.”

Table 1: Popular broadband deals ending in November 2017

Provider Plan End Date Average price per month Difference from rollover plan % increase
EE Unlimited Superfast Fibre Broadband & Weekend Calls (formerly Unlimited Fibre Broadband & Calls) November 2017 £27.45 £7.05 25.68%
Plusnet Unlimited Fibre Broadband November 2017 £21.99 £11.99 54.52%
TalkTalk Faster Fibre Broadband (formerly TalkTalk Medium Fibre Broadband) November 2017 £27.70 £5.80 20.94%
Virgin Media Player Bundle (formerly Virgin Media Big Easy Bundle) November 2017 £32.99 £15.01 45.50%
Average £9.96 36.66%

 

Source: uSwitch.com research. Correct as of 10 November 2017 


Table 2: Popular pay-monthly deals with a handset ending in November 2017

Provider Plan End Date Average price per month
EE Samsung Galaxy S6 32GB, 2GB data, 1000 minutes & unlimited texts November 2017 £24.99
EE iPhone 5S 16GB, 1GB data, 500 minutes & unlimited texts November 2017 £19.99
ID mobile iPhone 6S 16GB, 1GB data, 600 minutes & 5000 texts November 2017 £27.50
O2 Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge 32GB, 1GB data, unlimited minutes & texts November 2017 £27.50
Vodafone iPhone 6S 16GB, 6GB data, unlimited minutes & texts November 2017 £39.00
Average £27.80

Source: uSwitch.com research. Correct as of 10 November 2017

 Table 3: Popular SIM-only deals ending in November 2017

Provider Plan End Date Average price per month
BT Mobile 4GB, 500 minutes & unlimited texts November 2017 £15.00
EE 20GB, unlimited minutes & texts November 2017 £16.49
O2 8GB, unilimited minutes & texts November 2017 £22.00
Three 4GB, unlimited minutes & texts November 2017 £9.00
Vodafone 5GB, unlimited minutes & texts November 2017 £15.00
Average £15.50

Source: uSwitch.com research. Correct as of 10 November 2017

 

uSwitch.com’s top tips for Black Friday deals:

  1. Think about what you really want – it pays to plan ahead to make sure you get what you really need. For example, if you’re suffering from buffering, maybe it’s time to consider fibre broadband, which is faster and more reliable and can cost as little as just a few pounds a month more than standard broadband.
  2. When it comes to mobile phones, consider whether you actually want a new handset. If you don’t, then look for a SIM-only deal that reflects your monthly data usage. Be wary of falling for a huge data allowance if it notably outstrips your current usage as this could lead to a heap of extra GBs of data that you’re paying for – and in many cases wasting.
  3. Don’t be swayed by just the allure of freebies. While they can offer great value, it’s always worth checking the total cost of ownership so you can make like-for-like comparisons.
  4. Most importantly, don’t rush headlong into deals before looking at the small print. For example, to reduce the monthly fee, some providers are offering deals on new handsets including the iPhone 8 and iPhone X that include 36 month contracts, meaning you’re locked in on the handset – and responsible for monthly payments – for a full three years.
  5. Before you snap up a deal it’s worth taking just a couple of minutes to check that what you’re getting really is good value. Comparison sites are free and easy to use – and some now even have apps, making it quicker and easier than ever.

 

 

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

 

— ends —

Notes to editors

1 PlusNet Unlimited Fibre Broadband 18 month contract, taken out in April 2016 will rise from £21.99 per month to £33.98 per month – if it isn’t cancelled in November 2017.

2 Virgin Media Big Easy Bundle (now known as the Player Bundle) 18 month contract, taken out in April 2016, will rise from £32.99 per month to £48.00 per month – if it isn’t cancelled in November 2017.

3 Source: Ofcom, March 2017: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0028/98605/Pricing-report-2017.pdf

4 See Table 2 above. Source: uSwitch.com, more information available on request

5 Vodafone iPhone 6S 16GB, 6GB data, unlimited minutes & texts contract, taken out in November 2015 is £39 per month – Vodafone’s 6GB, unlimited minutes & texts SIM-only contract is £16 per month. Calculation: £39 – £16 = £23 x 12 = £276

 

About us

Launched in September 2000, uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, broadband, TV services, mobiles and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, car and home insurance. Last year we saved UK consumers over £278 million on their energy bills alone.

Customers can sign up to an account that automatically monitors the energy market and notifies them when they can move to a cheaper tariff, while broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and identify the best deal for their postcode.

The multi award-winning 'Switching Made Simple' app allows customers to compare energy, broadband, credit card, mobile and SIM-only deals – and uSwitch also has a UK contact centre manned by energy and broadband experts. Customers can post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH to receive a free call back and be guided through the comparison process, or they can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details.

uSwitch is owned by ZPG, which operates some of the UK’s most trusted digital brands that help empower smarter property and household decisions including Zoopla, Money, PrimeLocation and SmartNewHomes.

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