MSE News

BT to raise broadband, landline and mobile prices for millions next month

Millions of BT customers will see their monthly bills for broadband, landlines and mobiles rise by 1.3% in March even if they're still within their minimum contract term, can reveal.

The telecoms giant has this week begun contacting affected customers to warn them their monthly bill will rise in line with January's Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation figure on 31 March 2020.

And the cost of out-of-allowance calls and optional add-ons will also rise by CPI for all BT customers - for example, out-of-allowance calls to UK landlines will rise in price from 15p/minute to 15.9p/minute. 

If you're unhappy with the price rise, you can compare broadband, phone line and TV prices to create your own package with our free Broadband Unbundled tool.

Who's affected by the BT price rises?

All BT broadband, landline and mobile customers who signed up or agreed to a new contract between 11 January 2019 and 16 January 2020 will see a 1.3% rise in their monthly bills – though BT won't tell us how many customers that is in total. That means, for instance, that someone on its Unlimited Broadband package will pay an extra £7.08/year – with their monthly bill rising from a (very pricey) £45.49/month to £46.08/month.

  • See a full tariff-by-tariff list of how monthly bills are rising

    Here's a detailed breakdown of how BT will be changing the price of different landline and broadband packages from 31 March 2020. Again, these price rises only apply to customers who took out their contract between 11 January 2019 and 16 January 2020:

    Changes to BT monthly line rental prices

    Product Current monthly price Monthly price from 31 March
    Standard Line Rental  £19.99 £20.20
    Line Rental Plus £21.99 £22.20
    BT Basic £5.10 £5.16
    BT Basic + Broadband £9.95 £10.07

    Changes to BT monthly landline call plan prices

    Product Current monthly price Monthly price from 31 March
    Unlimited Minutes / Unlimited Anytime Calls £9.99 £10.11
    Unlimited Evening and Weekend Calls  £4.50 £4.55
    Unlimited Anytime Plan Plus £11.99 £12.14
    Unlimited Anytime Plan £9.30 £9.42
    Unlimited Evening and Weekend Plan  £5.80 £5.87
    BT Working Together £13.70 £13.87
    BT Together Local  £6 £6.07

    Changes to prices of BT landline add-ons and calling features 

    Product Current monthly price Monthly price from 31 March
    Friends and Family Mobile £2.70 £2.73
    Friends and Family International £2 £2.02
    International Freedom £8.50 £8.61
    Calling Pack with 1 / 2-4 / 5+ Features £5.50 / £9.75 / £12.75 £5.57 / £9.87 / £12.91
    BT Answer 1571 / Call Minder £3.50 / £5.50 £3.54 / £5.57
    Anonymous Call Reject £6.50 £6.58
    Choose to Refuse £5.50 £5.57
    Premium & International Call Bar £1.85 £1.87

    Changes to BT monthly broadband prices

    Product Current monthly price Monthly price from 31 March
    Unlimited Broadband £45.49 £46.08
    Superfast Fibre Essential £37.99 £38.48
    Superfast Fibre 1 £43.99 £44.56
    Superfast Fibre 2 / Ultrafast Fibre 100 £47.99 £48.61
    Ultrafast Fibre 250 / Ultrafast Fibre 100 Halo 2 £57.99 £58.74
    Ultrafast Fibre 100 Halo 1 £54.99 £55.70
    Ultrafast Fibre 250 Halo 1 £59.99 £60.77
    Ultrafast Fibre 250 Halo 2 £62.99 £63.81

    The 1.3% price rise also applies to BT Mobile contracts (both Standard and BT Broadband Household packages), though exactly what you'll end up paying depends on factors such as your allowances and handset.

    Early termination charges will also increase across these landline, broadband and mobile products, as these are linked to your monthly cost.

If your contract starts on or after 17 January 2020, your bill WON'T rise next month – but it will go up in line with inflation in March 2021.

As well as the rise in monthly bills, BT is also increasing some extra charges paid by landline customers, such as out-of-allowance calling rates and optional add-ons - for example, out-of-allowance calls to UK landlines will rise from 15p/minute to 15.19p/minute. These changes will apply to ALL BT landline customers, regardless of when you took out your contract.

  • See a list of out-of-allowance call prices which are going up

    Here's a breakdown of how the prices are going up for different plans – again, these changes apply to all BT landline customers who incur these charges:

    Changes to BT out-of-allowance landline prices

    Service Price change for the following packages: Unlimited Weekend Calls, Unlimited Evening & Weekend Calls, Unlimited Anytime Calls, Home Phone Saver 2017-2020 Price change for all other plans
    Calls to UK landlines Rise from 15p/min to 15.19p/min Daytime calls rise from 15p/min to 15.9p/min, evening calls rise from 4p/min to 4.05p/min
    Access charge for calls to service numbers Rise from 15p/min to 15.19p/min Rise from 15p/min to 15.19p/min
    Calls to mobiles Rise from 18p/min to 18.23p/min (1) Daytime calls rise from 17p/min to 17.22p/min, evening calls rise from 10p/min to 10.13p/min
    International calls Rise from 55p to 55.71p for countries in Band A, 85p to 86.1p for Band B and 145p to 146.88p for Band C. Rise from 55p to 55.71p for countries in Band A, 85p to 86.1p for Band B and 145p to 146.88p for Band C.
    Set-up fee Rise from 23p to 23.29p per call Rise from 23p to 23.29p per call

    (1) Except Unlimited Anytime Calls plan, which will rise from 9p/min to 9.11p/min.

BT mobile customers won't see any change in the cost of add-ons and out-of-allowance calls, texts and data, while some broadband and landline products will also remain at the same price.

BT broadband and landline customers enjoyed a year without any price rises in 2019, after being stung with two rounds of hikes in 2018. But the firm's warned that after this year, anyone who signed up since 11 January 2019 can now expect to see CPI-linked price rises every March.

Those who signed up or recontracted before 11 January 2019 aren't affected by any inflationary price rises – though of course BT may decide to separately raise prices at some point in the future.

I'm mid-contract – can I leave penalty-free?

Unfortunately, if you're mid-contract and choose to cancel because of the increase in your monthly cost, you will have to pay an extra fee for cancelling early. This is because those affected were warned about inflationary price rises when they signed their contact – and so Ofcom rules mean sadly you can't just up and leave.

If you're unhappy with the price rise and are currently mid-contract, make sure you note down when your contract is due to end, and start looking for new deals about a month before. Bear in mind though that many telecoms providers regularly raise prices, so the key thing is to compare the price you're paying with deals offered by rival firms – use our Broadband Unbundled tool to benchmark prices.

What if I'm unhappy with out-of-allowance increases? 

A rule from telecoms regulator Ofcom means you can escape your contract penalty-free if you can successfully prove you've suffered "material detriment" as a result of a price increase. 

When it comes to an inflation-linked price rise to your main service that's written into your terms and conditions, you won't be able to claim "material detriment" to leave penalty-free, as we explain above. 

But price increases to out-of-allowance costs are more of a grey area. Ofcom says that whether a customer could argue they'd suffered "material detriment" for out-of-bundle extras depends on the circumstances - for example, how much and how regularly a customer uses the service, and how much the price is going up by. 

So while there are no guarantees, it could be worth getting in touch with BT and showing them how you'll be negatively affected by the out-of-allowance price rises, and asking if you can leave penalty-free as a result. 

Out of contract? Try to haggle or switch

If you're out of your minimum contract term, you CAN leave straightaway without paying any penalty, and there's a good chance you can save by switching to a better deal – though always check. Compare prices using our free Broadband Unbundled tool, or see our Cheap Broadband guide for help.

Alternatively, if you're willing to stick with BT, this is an opportunity to haggle a better deal. See our Haggle with BT guide for detailed tips, but for starters here are a few...

  • Benchmark the best deal elsewhere so you ask for a realistic discount.
  • Get through to the retentions (sometimes called disconnections) department. 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.
  • If they won't slash the price, see if they can include any extras, such as free calls or a boosted TV package that includes BT Sport at no extra charge.

What does BT say?

A BT spokesperson said: "We froze prices in 2019 for broadband, mobile and landline customers, so this is our first price rise in nearly 18 months. We know price rises are never welcome, but... we have now linked price changes to CPI to make our pricing fairer and more predictable for our customers."

MSE weekly email

FREE weekly MoneySaving email

For all the latest deals, guides and loopholes simply sign up today – it's spam-free!