BT promises a year without broadband or phone price hikes
BT has promised that it won't raise broadband, mobile or line rental prices for its millions of customers until March 2020 – but if you're out of contract, you're likely to be vastly overpaying.
Over recent years, we've seen BT hit customers with multiple price hikes, with two last year alone.
But BT has confirmed it will not be raising broadband, line rental or mobile prices until March next year, when it will begin increasing prices on an annual basis, in line with inflation.
Though a promise of no imminent price rises for its 10 million customers appears welcome, BT already has the most expensive out-of-contract prices of the main providers, so if you've not switched or haggled in a while, it's highly likely you're paying too much.
It should also be noted that this pledge doesn't extend to other services that BT offers, such as TV and sport.
Compare broadband, phone line and TV prices to create your own package with our free Broadband Unbundled tool.
What is changing?
Broadband providers across the board regularly hike prices, which they're allowed to do providing they give customers at least 30 days' notice.
If the price rise wasn't communicated at the beginning of the contract, customers are able to leave their contract penalty-free in this 30-day window.
BT has scrapped this approach for its mobile, broadband and line rental, instead moving to an annual increase from March 2020, which will be based on January 2020's Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rate.
The change will require customers with broadband and line rental and/or mobile services to accept new terms and conditions, which essentially means they won't be able to leave their contract penalty-free as they were informed about the price increase before they signed their contract.
Any new customer signing up to its services since Friday 11 January will have already accepted the new terms, and BT has told us it will communicate these changes to existing customers later this year.
BT has also confirmed this change won't extend to its TV or sport services, meaning it could still increase prices this year. Conversely, existing customers with BT Plus – introduced last May with an 18-month price freeze – will not see any increase until March 2021.
Out-of-contract? You're likely already overpaying
Even without price increases, BT's out-of-contract broadband and line rental pricing is eye-wateringly expensive. So if you've been with it a while and your initial promotional rate has ended, it's likely you're now paying £100s/yr too much.
Its standard out-of-contract prices range from a huge £45.59/month (£545/year) for its slowest broadband and line with average speeds of 10Mb, to £58.99/month (£707/year) for its fibre with average speeds of 67Mb.
Comparing that with broadband and line deals for new customers that typically range from under £200/yr for 10Mb to £290/yr for 63Mb, switching can easily save £300+/yr. See Broadband Unbundled for the current top picks or our Haggle with BT guide for tips on reducing your price – 80% of MSE users who responded to our September 2018 haggling poll got a better deal having haggled.
What does BT say?
A BT spokesperson said: "From 2020, we will link any future price changes to the CPI inflation rate. We will not be increasing prices for BT broadband, home phone and mobile plans in 2019.
"While price changes are sometimes necessary to keep up with increasing costs and to provide the best possible products and services, we know that customers want greater clarity and predictability about any price changes.
"We've listened to our customers and from 2020 we will be moving to once-yearly price changes for BT broadband, home phone and mobile customers."