Home Money How to save money on broadband and mobile phone bills as prices rise

How to save money on broadband and mobile phone bills as prices rise

by Elijah
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On the rise: Broadband and mobile phone prices are about to rise, but good deals can still be found

Millions of households will suffer sharp increases of up to 7.9 percent in the price of their broadband and mobile phone offers in just two months.

These mid-contract price increases will occur from March to May and will see mobile and broadband companies pass on inflation-linked cost increases, often at an additional charge.

Not all broadband and phone companies will raise their prices this year, and not all rates will rise much, but many households face significant changes to their bills.

The only silver lining is that these increases in 2024 bills are dwarfed by the 14 percent increases in inflation-linked mobile and broadband prices that many customers faced in 2023, due to the higher inflation at that time.

But there are some ways to reduce the cost, which we explain here.

On the rise: Broadband and mobile phone prices are about to rise, but good deals can still be found

How to get a better deal on broadband

1) Find out about your current contract

Before you can get a better deal, you need to be sure of what you have now.

If you’ve had broadband for a while, you probably don’t know what connection speed you have, how long the contract lasts or even how much it costs exactly, especially if it’s included in your phone bill.

If in doubt, contact your provider and ask for the precise details of your deal. If you’ve had broadband with the same company for over a year, you may no longer be tied to a contract as many only last 12 months.

Once your contract is up, you’ll likely be offered a rolling monthly deal at a higher price, so this is a good time to negotiate a better rate or consider switching.

2) Determine what offer you need

Broadband deals vary in price depending on how much you can download and at what speed.

You are unlikely to need an expensive service with unlimited downloads and unbeatable speed, unless you are an avid computer game player, work with large files, or maybe have a large family.

Choosing a broadband deal that meets your needs, rather than one that exceeds them, will save you money each year.

Consider what you really need and try not to be convinced by flashy offers.

Downgrade: You may not need very fast broadband unless it involves activities like gaming.

Downgrade: You may not need very fast broadband unless it involves activities like gaming.

3) Compare prices

If you’re at the end of your contract, your first point of call should be to haggle with your current provider.

If you have reached the end of your contract and are threatening to leave, they may offer you a better deal in exchange for signing a new contract with them.

Why are mobile phone and broadband bills increasing?

Each year between March and May, broadband and mobile providers can pass on revised prices to customers.

These increases can be linked to inflation, both CPI and CPI, or they can be independent.

Most providers who use inflation as a guide will also add 3.9 percent.

For mobile customers, mid-contract price increases will affect the airtime portion of your contract.

In most cases, they’re unlikely to beat your best offer for new customers, but if you think a rival service is better, tell them and they may try to beat it.

If you decide to move, list your basic criteria and look around.

4) Know your rights

You can leave your contract without paying an exit fee in certain circumstances.

For example, if your supplier announces a price increase that wasn’t in your contract, you can cancel it and find a better deal.

Likewise, if your broadband speed is below the minimum promised by your provider, they have one month to fix the situation or you can walk away without penalties.

5) Check if you can get a social rate

Social tariffs are cheap broadband deals for people enjoying benefits such as Universal Credit.

These agreements have been in place since 2020, when industry regulator Ofcom required providers to offer low-cost options to the most needy customers.

Five cheapest social broadband rates
Supplier Package Price per month Contract duration in months Speed Installation fee
USA The essential £12 12 25MB/S £0
Vodafone Essential broadband £12 12 38MB/S £0
Virgin media Essential broadband £12.50 Monthly rolling 15MB/S £0
4th utility Social Rate €13.99 Monthly rolling 30MB/S
KCOM Full fiber flexion €14.99 Monthly rolling 30MB/S £0
Source: Ofcom

How to get a better deal on your mobile phone

1) Calculate what you REALLY need

Mobile phone deals vary in terms of what you get and what they charge you.

If you are at the end of your contract, or want to take out your first contract, think about what you really need from a mobile phone offer.

2) Consider a Sims-only offer

If you already own a mobile phone or can get one cheap, you may be able to save money with a cheap Sim-only deal.

This is because most mobile phone contracts sell you two things: the phone and the cost of using it. If you already have the phone, you’ll only have to worry about the cost of calls, text messages and data.

If you signed a deal that included a phone some time ago, it’s important to check that you’re not still being charged for a phone that’s already been paid for.

Comparison experts Uswitch say customers can save up to £321 by signing up to a Sim-only deal.

Users must ensure that they do not exceed the limits set when they register. If they do, additional charges may apply, and these can be costly.

3) Consider a refurbished phone

If you need your first phone or replace an existing one, see if there is a refurbished phone that fits your needs.

Refurbished phones have been checked by experts to replace broken parts and improve performance. They are considerably cheaper than new phones.

For example, an iPhone 15 Pro costs around £1,000 for a new phone, while refurbished models cost around £650 to £800.

These savings are even greater for less in-demand phones or older models.

Most Samsung Galaxy phones released in the last five years typically cost no more than £200 when refurbished, for example, but cost up to four times that amount new.

Some second-hand phone retailers offer warranties, but not all.

Sim-only savings: If you don't need a new phone, you could pay a lot less

Sim-only savings: If you don’t need a new phone, you could pay a lot less

4) Prepare to haggle

When your current contract comes to an end, haggling with your supplier can save you money.

Do your research first and come prepared with some of the best deals you’ve found elsewhere.

Mention any problems you’ve had with your current supplier, as this can give you an advantage in any negotiations.

If you are not satisfied with the offer your supplier makes, say that you are willing to leave; This can miraculously make better deals appear.

5) Be prepared to change

If you can’t get a deal you’re happy with from your current provider, consider switching at the end of your contract.

6) Check if you can get a social rate

Cheap Sim-only deals mean there are only three social tariffs for mobile customers:

Smarty social rate

Smarty, a sub-brand of Three, offers unlimited calls, texts and data for £12 a month.

To be eligible, prospective clients must apply for Income-Based Employment Support Allowance, Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Universal Credit.

Voxi Rate For Now

This offers unlimited minutes and unlimited 5G data for £10 a month.

Clients must be on Employment Claims Allowance, Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

EE Basics

This provides unlimited minutes with 5GB of data for £12 a month.

Customers will need to claim Universal Credit, the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support to qualify.

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