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Phone and broadband companies will send bills soaring for millions of Brits next week 

Phone and broadband companies will send bills soaring for millions of Brits next week 

Mobile phone and broadband bills will soar well above the rate of inflation for millions of people next week, even if they are in the middle of a contract.

Industry regulator Ofcom allows these hugely profitable companies to raise their prices once a year, not just in line with inflation, but with a flat rate of 3.9% added on top.

This will mean an increase of over 14 percent on bills, and in some cases as much as 17.3 percent.

In most cases, you can’t simply terminate your contract without paying a penalty – it’s in the fine print.

Motorway theft: Ofcom rules will allow bills to rise by more than 14% and in some cases up to 17.3% (Sid James, file image)

Virgin Media ¿ with a 13.8% price hike ¿ giving customers a 30-day option to leave and move elsewhere

Virgin Media – with a 13.8% price hike – is giving customers a 30-day option to leave and move elsewhere

However, alone among the big providers, Virgin Media – with a 13.8% increase – offers customers a 30-day option to leave and move elsewhere.

On average, households will see an increase of £11.25 per month after the 14.4% price hike companies like BT are implementing in April. Customers will also add an estimated £1.4 billion to the coffers of major UK broadband providers due to price increases.

Our Wealth & Personal Finance team campaigned against the “masquerade of rising bills”.

Now, household finance app is calling for these unreasonable mid-contract price hikes to be banned. The entire system is currently under study.

Its CEO and founder, Greg Marsh, said: ‘It is outrageous that Ofcom is sanctioning these massive increases, especially in a cost of living crisis. It was morally wrong when inflation was low, but now that the consumer price index is over 10%, it’s nothing less than legalized highway robbery.

Don’t be surprised by mid-contract price increases

Check if this applies to your offers now. You might not be able to do much about it if that’s the case, but at least you’ll know what to expect: a forewarned is a forewarned.

But, before you panic, not all providers do this. Full-fiber broadband challenger Hyperoptic has never hit its customers with mid-contract hikes and is actively campaigning against the practice.

Some providers, such as Giffgaff and Smarty, sell one-month rolling contracts that are unaffected by inflation-based price increases.

Find out if your mobile provider is raising prices in April, how it compares to other providers, and how much it’s going to cost you with a tool at

Ditch the giant vendors for the lesser-known ones

It can be tempting to go with household names like O2, EE and Virgin Mobile. But you can often get comparable speeds and identical coverage from lesser-known networks, such as Voxi, Giffgaff, Smarty, and iD Mobile.

The same is true for broadband in some areas, although some of the smaller companies only operate in certain parts of the UK. Hyperoptics, for example, covers around one million homes in the UK. It’s always worth checking out what’s available where you live.

Can you get a social tariff to reduce broadband costs?

Social rates are cheaper broadband rates available to anyone with Universal Credit or a range of similar benefits.

Well-known providers such as BT, Sky, Virgin Media and Now offer them. Despite this, less than 3.5% of eligible households take advantage of it.

A social rate can cost as little as £15 a month, compared to an average cost of around £35.

It’s true that the social tariff offers pretty basic broadband, but that should be enough unless you have a house full of avid gamers.

Upgrade to a SIM-only mobile plan

If you’re happy with your current phone and don’t need a shiny new version, consider signing up for a SIM-only plan. These are cheaper because you only pay for the data and minutes you actually use and not the cost of the phone.

If you wanted a new phone, buying it outright is still often cheaper than going on a monthly contract. Better yet, you might consider buying a refurbished phone – from a reputable seller or trader with a warranty (like eBay and Amazon). They are often of great value.

Get ready to haggle wwith your current network

Shop around for the best deals and, once you’re satisfied with your research, start negotiating with your supplier.

There’s no guarantee they’ll give you a better deal, but it’s still worth a shot. Be prepared – this means seeing what prices are on offer elsewhere. If they’re cheaper than your current rate, you have real ammunition to work with.

Most phone and broadband companies have a retention service whose job it is to keep customers from drifting away. Staff will have access to better deals and discounts here than anywhere else. Be polite, but pushy and threaten to leave. You don’t have to leave. Just say you need to check with the other half and you’ll call back. Worth a try if you’re with Virgin Media and have their 30-day option to quit.

Don’t pay for more mobile data than you actually need

When it comes to mobiles, millions of people pay for hefty data allowances that they never use.

Studies show that the average Brit uses 4.5GB of data per month, but many pay far more than that.

Talk to your provider to find out how much you really use each month, and note to switch to a cheaper plan with a lower data allowance as soon as you can.

Use renewal reminders to track contract end dates

Millions of people are out of contract for their mobile and broadband and will likely overpay by not upgrading to a better deal.

Your provider should tell you when your contract ends, but people often miss the notifications (or see them and then forget to follow them).

Websites like give you free reminders when your mobile contract is up for renewal, giving you time to search for better deals or haggle with your provider.

Use supplier caps on your spend

Some mobile operators allow you to choose a cap on your bill, which means you can’t spend anything beyond the monthly amount agreed in your contract. This can save you from racking up an unexpected and costly bill.

A new way to reduce laundry costs? An air dryer


Forget air fryers…the new must-have is an “air dryer,” an alternative to a tumble dryer that costs a fraction to operate.

But you might get a little warm under the collar trying to find one.

They are now so popular that one store sold out its stock – which was normally meant to last six months – in just a few weeks.

As energy bills soar, people are looking for ways to clean and dry their clothes more cheaply, including with air dryers (file image)

As energy bills soar, people are looking for ways to clean and dry their clothes more cheaply, including with air dryers (file image)

Until last year the gadgets, which look like normal clothes racks but have heated rails, had a small loyal following.

But soaring energy bills and rave reviews on budget sites have changed that.

The best seller is the Dry:Soon 3 Tier Heated Dryer, pictured left, priced at £199.99. It costs around 15p an hour to run at today’s electricity prices, and users can dry up to 15kg of laundry, with a load costing around 45p. A tumble dryer costs around £2 to dry a load.

A smaller version of the Dry:Soon 3 Tier Heated Dryer costs £129.99.

High Street kitchenware store Lakeland previously sold a few thousand every few months but, as electricity prices rose, it sold out all its winter stock within weeks.

Due to production delays at the factories where they are made in the Far East, he was unable to secure new stock until this year.

It now receives several hundred a week but sells out within days.

Such is the buzz about them that air dryer fans these days are taking to social media to share information about when they are back in stock.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on it, we may earn a small commission. This helps us fund This Is Money and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any business relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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