Millions of Sky home phone and broadband customers will be hit with inflation busting price hikes from 1 December, the provider has revealed.
But you can cancel your broadband AND home phone penalty-free, and there are ways for those who want to stay with Sky to beat the hikes as we explain below – also see our Cheap Home Phones and Cheap Broadband guides for the best buys.
This isn't the first time this year Sky's upped prices, in June it pushed up costs for most of its millions of TV customers – see the How to beat Sky TV price hikes MSE News story for more on this.
Here's how prices will change from 1 December
Here's what's happening for existing customers:
- Standard line rental: Will rise to £17.40/month from £16.40 – a 6% increase.
- Sky Talk packages: Those who got a Sky Talk phone package pre-7 July 2015 will be moved to one of Sky's new call packages which come ON TOP OF line rental. These cost from £0/mth-£12/mth but Sky admits it will move some from a free package to a paid-for package, although it won't give further info to us, so it's vital you check your Sky literature. See Sky's full package prices.
- Sky Talk (1571) voicemail: Will rise to £1.25/month from £1/month – a 25% increase.
- Non-inclusive calls costs: The connection fee will rise to 16.9p/call from 15.9p/call. Calls to UK landlines, calls to UK mobiles and the access charge to call service numbers will also change to 11.5p/min from 9.5p/min, 12.7p/min and 9.5p/min respectively – an up to 21% increase.
Sky wouldn't tell us how many customers are affected by this move.
Four steps to beat the Sky hikes and cut costs
1. Ditch and switch. You can leave penalty-free.
If you want to leave Sky, either because you're unhappy about the price hikes or because you don't want to switch to a new Talk package, you can cancel your line rental, home phone and broadband penalty free even though broadband package prices aren't increasing (you can't cancel Sky TV if you have it as Sky says this is a separate contract).
- Within your minimum contract (these are usually 12 months long): You can leave penalty-free if you cancel within 30 days of receiving notification from Sky about the price hikes. The number to call to cancel is included in the letter. You'll get your letter from this week. Customers who have a valid email address will also be emailed notification.
- Outside your minimum contract: You can cancel penalty-free at any point. How you cancel depends on if you're switching to a new provider and who that provider is, or if you're cancelling your contract completely and not going to a new provider. See Sky's help page for what to do.
Unlike other providers, Sky doesn't sell a cheaper upfront line rental option, where you pay for a year's access in advance, so you can't save using this tactic.
The best prices are usually reserved for new customers, so existing ones lose out on cracking deals. But if you're willing to take the haggle challenge, you could beat a price hike, and we've heard many success stories from people who've haggled with Sky in the past.
Even if you have Sky TV, which isn't included in this round of price hikes, it's still a good opportunity to haggle on any Sky products you have.
In our latest service provider haggle poll, 86% of Sky customers polled said they had a success haggling. See our guide on how to haggle with Sky for full help on what to do, but in the meantime, here are five tips to start...
- Benchmark the best deal elsewhere so you ask for a realistic discount.
- Get through to the retentions (sometimes called disconnections) department, as they have the most power to slash costs as their job is to keep you.
- Use charm and be friendly. Aggression or anger will just put their back up.
- Don't panic if they call your bluff and say they'll disconnect you.
- Problems mean discounts, so if you've had issues with Sky in the past – eg, slow broadband – politely tell it when you haggle.
Also watch Martin's How to Haggle video for more inspiration.
3. Use mobile minutes or call web-to-web for free.
To cut call costs, why pay for a call if you don't have to? So if you've inclusive mobile minutes then use those instead of paying for a Sky call.
Also, if you and the person you're calling are both online and have the same special app or web service (eg, Skype, Viber, FaceTime or WhatsApp), you can call for free, no matter where in the world you both are.
You can do this using a smartphone, tablet or PC. See our Free Web Calls guide for more info.
Do note, however, there may be charges for using the internet if you're not on WiFi or you're not using unlimited WiFi. We'd also normally tell you to cut call costs using override providers, but Sky has blocked customers from using these.
4. Change your Talk package.
If you're unhappy with the Talk package you get moved to, Sky says you can upgrade or downgrade at any time via its website.
This includes the option to take its Pay As You Talk product where there's no monthly cost (you still have to pay for line rental though), and you only pay for the calls you make.
What are other providers doing?
It's not just Sky that's hiking prices. Here's a summary of price hikes the other major telecoms providers have recently enforced:
- Virgin Media upped prices for customers with Sky Sports or Movies from 1 June and its broadband only customers will see prices rise from 1 November.
- Sky TV customers face up to 10% price hike from 1 September.
- Plusnet hiked home phone and line rental prices from 2 September.
- BT increased broadband, home phone and TV prices from 20 September.
- TalkTalk hiked broadband and line rental prices from 1 October.
Why is Sky upping prices?
A spokesperson for Sky says: "Our line rental and voicemail prices are still lower than BT's, and our new Sky Talk packs mean our customers will gain even more inclusive calls across the week – including calls to UK mobiles – for as little as £4 a month.
"These changes mean we can offer our broadband and Talk customers even more value for money at the same time as investing in market-leading innovation and even better customer service for them."