UK households shell out £120/mth on average for mobile, broadband and TV services, according to new data from the communications regulator - but you can slash your costs.
Ofcom reveals the average cost of broadband and mobile services to be £87/mth, with TV pushing this up to £120/mth - over £1,400/yr.
Its annual communications report also highlights a firm reliance on the internet with two thirds of adults stating it is an essential part of their life, with 19% spending more than 40 hours a week online.
The changing trends are particularly apparent with smartphone usage, as 78% of people now own one and admit to checking it - on average - every 12 minutes. Though despite this, the mean monthly data usage is relatively low at 1.9GB, serving as a reminder to only pay for what you need.
Online winners and losers
Improved connectivity over the last decade has led to most people saying they need - and expect - a constant internet connection wherever they go.
This increased access has on the whole improved people's lives, the report shows, with 74% saying it keeps them close to friends and family and two fifths stating it allows them to work more flexibly.
Yet there are clear negative effects to being 'always on' as 15% feel they are always at work and over half have had face-to-face conversations with friends and family interrupted by checking a connected device.
Three ways to slash your bills
With the average reported costs of mobile at £46/mth, broadband at £41/mth and TV at £33/mth, totalling an average £1,440/yr household spend, check to see if you can save £100s/yr, especially if you are out of your initial contracted period.
- Switch - The trick to keeping costs down is to take advantage of short-lived promotions and then switching before your price jumps at the end of the contract. Compare broadband and TV offers in your area with our Broadband Unbundled tool and the Best Sim only guide for cheap mobile deals. As an example, Now Broadband offers 36Mb fibre broadband, line rental and its Entertainment pass - for access to 15 premium channels - for an effective £25.83/mth on a 12mth contract, while iD Mobile provides 4GB data, 500 mins and unlimited texts for £8/mth, so savings could be substantial.
- Haggle - As the majority of the switcher deals are reserved for new customers, if you want to stay with your provider, see our haggling guide for top tips on negotiating a better deal.
- Ditch - Weigh up if it's still worth paying for the services you're getting. For broadband, do you really need to pay for fibre or would standard speed suffice? Are you using all of your mobile data allowance and are you actually watching all the channels you pay for? If the answer is no to any of these, then consider ditching the service - and the cost - entirely.
What does Ofcom say?
Ian Macrae, Ofcom’s Director of Market Intelligence, said: "Over the last decade, people’s lives have been transformed by the rise of the smartphone, together with better access to the internet and new services.
"Whether it’s working flexibly, keeping up with current affairs or shopping online, we can do more on the move than ever before. But while people appreciate their smartphone as their constant companion, some are finding themselves feeling overloaded when online, or frustrated when they’re not."