Sky is to hit over 3.5 million customers with a huge rise in the cost of their home phone packages later this year.

The hike will be the second price blow to hit households in three months, after the giant increased TV rates and some call costs on 1 September.

The scale of the 18% rise on 1 December means customers can ditch Sky without having to pay an exit penalty, even if they are in the middle of a contract.

Sky is currently writing to customers to inform them of the jumps.

What's happening?

  • Line rental is rising from £12.25 a month to £14.50.
  • The price of daytime calls to UK landlines will jump from 7.95p per minute to 8.41p.
  • The call connection cost will rise from 13.1p to 13.87p for chargeable calls.

Anyone who signed up after 1 September will not pay more as they are already on the new rates.

What can you do about it?

Sky will allow customers to leave their landline contract without penalty as a result of the hike (see the Home Phones guide for the top deals).

This also applies to customers with a combined landline and broadband package, but not broadband-only, as there's no price rise here.

If you want to leave Sky, contact it within three weeks of getting your letter and give seven days' notice.

Technically, the end of that notice needs to fall within a calendar month after receiving notification, so if you cancel within three weeks, you should be OK.

A Sky spokesman says: "Our broadband and home phone subscription prices have been frozen for more than two years, but we are having to increase our line rental, to continue investing in our services.  

"Even following the price change, our line rental is still cheaper than BT and, when combined with our great value home communications services, offer significant savings to those switching to Sky."