Save, make, understand money

Household Bills

How millions can avoid the 17% April broadband price hikes

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

An estimated 11 million broadband and mobile customers facing bill rises of up to 17.3% next month may be able to avoid these prices hikes.

Broadband and mobile customers are bracing for huge inflation-linked price hikes next month, after receiving texts, emails and letters from telecom giants about the planned rises.

The majority of broadband providers don’t allow customers to leave penalty-free if prices rise as it’s written into contracts when they sign up to a deal.

However, the telecoms regulator, Ofcom has launched a review of inflation-linked mid-contract price rises following concerns of its “unpredictable” nature which makes it hard for users to know how much they’ll pay.

How to avoid April price hikes

According to price comparison site Uswitch, 11 million customers are out of contract and could switch to avoid paying more on this household bill this spring.

Meanwhile, nearly seven million in-contract customers with Sky and Virgin Media could escape the upcoming price hike without penalty, but only if they act within 30 days of receiving the notification.

Virgin Media is one of few providers that doesn’t apply mid-contract price hikes – it does apply hikes at other times. But it has recently confirmed that price hikes will be written into contracts from April 2024, based on the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation, plus 3.9%.

Vodafone, TalkTalk and Shell confirmed to Uswitch that customers signing up to broadband packages in March won’t be impacted by the April 2023 price hikes, with rises not expected until April 2024.

Elsewhere, Tesco Mobile confirmed that if your mobile contract ended before 1 February 2023, prices will rise this April. But Uswitch said this year’s hikes can be avoided by upgrading to any Tesco Mobile plan ahead of 27 March 2023, or a Clubcard Price plan on or after 27 March 2023.

Uswitch urges all broadband and mobile customers to check to see if they are out of contract or approaching the end of their contract as they may be able to switch away and avoid 2023 price hikes altogether.

‘Now is the time to explore your options’

Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at Uswitch, said: “Millions of mobile and broadband customers are either out of contract or will be soon, and facing the dilemma of whether to recontract before or after the April price rises.

“If your contract ends before April, now is the time to explore your options by comparing your current deal with what’s out there.

“You can switch now to avoid the impact of the April 2023 price rises entirely with providers such as Vodafone, Virgin Media, Shell and TalkTalk, if you find a broadband deal that suits you. It’s important to note that this will not shield you from price rises in 2024.

“Some providers, such as Hyperoptic and Cuckoo, have also gone one step further and committed to no mid-contract price increases at all, so it’s worth seeing if they cater to your local area.

“You could also take the information around competitor prices and speeds back to your current provider and ask for a better deal. Providers will be keen to hang on to customers, so there’s often room for negotiation if you’re happy with their service – especially if you’re out of contract.

“Customers who find themselves facing rises should take this opportunity to vote with their feet.”

Uswitch top tips to beat the broadband price hikes

Doku shares these tips to check if you can save before April:

  • If you are out of contract or coming to the end of your contract: Some providers will allow you to switch to a new deal before 1 April and avoid mid-contract increases until 2024
  • If you are mid-contract: Check if you can switch and if there are any charges associated with switching. Even if there is a charge to switch, it may be worth it in the long term
  • Check if you’re eligible for social tariffs: If you’re in receipt of state benefits, you may be eligible to sign up for social tariffs, enabling low income households access to  affordable broadband. Major providers such as EE, Virgin and Vodafone offer connectivity from £12 with no set-up fees – and no mid-contract price increases.

 Tips for mobile customers

  • Know your deal: If you’re unhappy with your mid-contract increase, use this window to find a deal you would be happy with, but beware of longer deals as future mid-contract increases may still apply
  • Consider your mobile data usage: Many Brits are currently paying for more mobile data than they need. If you regularly have data left over at the end of the month, consider reducing the data in your plan to save money
  • Text 85075: Check how much it would cost to leave your current contract by texting INFO to 85075. You will receive a text message confirming if you have to pay exit fees to leave your provider
  • Out of contract? Try SIM-only: Mobile customers who are out of contract can save up to £321 a year by moving to a SIM-only deal.