BT and EE to hit millions with up to 4.5% price hikes - what you can do about it
Millions of BT and EE broadband, home phone, mobile and TV customers will be hit with price hikes of up to 4.5% from 31 March - though the exact increase is based on when you signed up to your current deal.
If you're affected, you won't be able to leave penalty-free unless you're out of contract. That's because the terms and conditions set by BT and EE, which are part of the same group, allow for prices to rise in line with inflation each year, which means you were warned about the hikes when you signed up.
Plusnet, which is also part of the BT Group, isn't increasing prices from 31 March but customers will see similar price hikes from 1 June - see below for more on this. And for full help finding the deals use our free Broadband Unbundled and Cheap Mobile Finder tools.
Signed up to your current deal with BT or EE since 1 September 2020 or before 11 January 2019? Most face a 4.5% rise
- Most in this category will be hit with an inflation-busting rise of 4.5% from 31 March (you'll see this on your April bill). This includes those who have BT Sport as part of a contracted TV deal as they, for the most part, escaped a £72 hike others had to pay last year.
- EE mobile customers who signed up before 11 January 2019 - your prices will instead rise by 1.2% on 31 March (in line with the retail prices index (RPI) measure of inflation) instead of CPI + 3.9 percentage points.
- BT Sport Monthly Pass customers - Your prices won't rise. Note, we're talking about people who don't have a contract where you can cancel any time. Those who have a contract face the rises above.
- 'BT Basic' or 'Home Phone Saver' landline packages - your prices won't rise.
The increase for most comes after the providers introduced new terms and conditions last September that allow them to up bills once a year using a calculation of 3.9 percentage points + the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation for the previous December, as announced in January.
BT and EE told customers a rise of some sort was coming but we now know the inflation figure is 0.6%, meaning a total 4.5% hike. BT and EE say the average increase is less than £2 a month - or under £24 a year. A £20 a month bill, for example, would go up by 90p a month or £10.80 a year.
Signed up to your current deal with BT or EE between 11 January 2019 and 31 August 2020? Most face a 0.6% rise
- Most BT mobile customers, and broadband and landline customers with both BT and EE, will hit by a smaller 0.6% rise if in this category, from 31 March. This is due to these terms and conditions allowing for an annual increase pegged to the previous December's CPI as announced in January. It means a £20 a month bill will go up by 12p a month or £1.44 a year.
- Signed up to a BT TV deal between these dates? You won't face a rise - that includes BT Sport customers on a contract. Many of these customers saw price hikes of up to £72 a year from November 2020 instead.
- Signed up to a mobile contract with EE between this timeframe? You'll be hit by a rise of 1.2% (in line with RPI rather than CPI, as per your contract).
- Are you a 'BT Basic' or 'Home Phone Saver' landline customer? Your prices also won't rise.
BT wouldn't tell us exactly how many customers are affected or whether most will see a 4.5% increase.
Customers of Plusnet, which is part of the same telecoms group as BT and EE, are not affected by the increases taking force on 31 March. Instead:
- Increases to Plusnet contracts taken out from 7 October 2020 will be calculated using April's CPI (as announced in May) + 3.9 percentage points. This rise will take effect on or after 1 June 2021. After this, prices will rises on or after 1 March every year from March 2022 in line with December's CPI rate (as announced in January) plus 3.9 percentage points.
- For those who signed up to their current deal prior to 7 October 2020, prices will rise by April's CPI (as announced in May) on or after 1 June 2021, and then again each June after this using the same methodology.
Both sets of customers are unable to leave their contracts penalty-free as a result of the hikes unless they're outside of their minimum contract term - this is because the increases are written into customers' contracts.
If you're out of contract use this as a trigger to check if it's worth switching
Those who are affected are currently being contacted by BT and EE. If you're impacted by either of the price rises you WON'T be able to leave penalty-free if you're unhappy and are still within your contract's minimum term when the increase takes force. That's because the price rises are written into BT and EE's terms and conditions, so you were warned when you signed up.
If you're unhappy, note down when your contract's due to end and start looking for new deals as soon as it's nearly up - or, if you want to stay, try to haggle your price down. However, bear in mind telecoms providers increase prices every now and then, so don't leave in anger if you're already on a cheap deal because other providers may well up costs too.
Those who've taken out a deal with BT or EE in the past one or two years may still be in contract - and these contracts will allow for the price increase. Anyone whose contract goes back further, while they'll be hit by the price hike, they're almost certainly going to be out of contract as their introductory deal will have expired. Out of contract customers can leave free of charge at any time by giving 30 days notice - and these customers are likely to be overpaying anyway. Benchmark prices elsewhere and switch if you can get a cheaper deal.
Alternatively, you could haggle with BT or EE to see if they'll match or beat a deal you've found elsewhere. In our last haggling poll, in November 2020, 77% of BT customers who tried to haggle told us they were successful. See our Haggle with BT guide and our Mobile Phone Haggling guide for more help.
What does BT say?
A BT spokesperson said: “Network usage is doubling as our customers rely on us for connectivity more than ever before, and this small annual increase reflects the investment needed to support growing demand."
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