Just over four million Sky customers will pay 25% more for line rental from December compared to this time last year, as the provider is hiking costs. Some call costs are also due to rise too.
From 1 December, customers with Sky line rental, which comes with Sky's Talk Weekends home phone package as standard, will see prices rise by 90p from £14.50 to £15.40 per month (see our Cheap Home Phones guide to cut costs).
The 6.2% line rental price hike means from December, customers will pay 25.7% more compared with this time last October, when monthly line rental was £12.25.
Sky put its line rental prices up to £14.50 in December 2012 (see the Sky to raise phone prices MSE News story).
As customers are charged for line rental a month in advance, if you're a Sky customer, expect this increase to be applied to your November bill.
If you've paid for 12 months' line rental upfront, you won't be affected by the price rise until that period ends.
After, you'll automatically revert to Sky's monthly line rental at the new £15.40 rate, or you can choose to pay for another year's line rental upfront.
Sky's upfront line rental saver, which currently costs £119.40 for 12 months, will also be rising later this month, to £140.40.
If you want to stay with Sky, you should lock into its line rental saver now while it's still only £119.40. You can leave your regular line rental contract penalty free mid-term if you're switching to Sky's line rental saver. However you can still get line rental much cheaper elsewhere – see our Cheap Home Phones guide to compare costs.
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Sky call rates also going up
As well as line rental, various call rates are set to rise from 3 December. Here's a round-up of the key changes, which most of Sky's home phone customers will be hit by, depending on their package:
- 1471 and 1571 return call services will rise by 2.3p to 20p/call.
- The connection fee on standard non-inclusive calls will rise from 13.87p to 15p/call. (Connection fees may not apply depending on your tariff.)
- Calls to UK mobiles will cost 12p/minute, regardless of the time of day. Currently calls during the day cost 12.77p/minute, while evening and weekend calls cost 7.66p/minute.
- Some call rates to non-geographic numbers (07, 08, 09 and directory enquiry services) will also increase.
- Calls to the Channel Islands will rise to 8.9p/minute during weekdays, from 8.41p/minute. The cost of evening and weekend calls will remain at 2.08p/minute and 1.38p/minute respectively.
Sky has sent letters to its home phone customers in the past week informing them of the price increases.
Broadband and call plan subscription charges aren't changing at present.
The move by Sky to up line rental follows BT's announcement in September that line rental would rise to from £15.45 to £15.99 a month from 4 January 2014 (see the BT reveals price rises MSE News story).
What can you do about Sky's price rise?
Those outside of their minimum contract period, which is generally anyone outside the first year of their contract, can leave without having to pay an early exit fee.
Anyone within their minimum contract period cannot leave without having to pay an early exit fee.
However Sky's terms do state customers can leave without penalty during their minimum contract term, if contract changes leave them to be 'materially disadvantaged'.
It's not clear what changes constitute material detriment, so if you're unhappy about the price hike and want to leave as a result, it's worth arguing this with Sky. If you receive an unsatisfactory response, or you don't receive a reply within eight weeks, you can take your complaint to the Ombudsman Services to look into.
A spokesperson for Sky says: "Our new line rental pricing remains cheaper than BT's standard monthly price. And because our broadband packages are staying the same, customers can put more money back in their pocket by switching to Sky from more expensive rivals."