BT customers face biggest price hike in years TOMORROW – how to lower your costs

BT customers face the biggest price hike in years from tomorrow as broadband and mobile costs rocket.

The telecommunications giant will increase prices for almost all its customers, including BT Broadband, landline, BT Mobile, BT Sport and BT TV.

Low income customers who find themselves on BT Home Essentials, BT Home Phone Saver, or BT Basic deals will manage to avoid the hikes though.

The company had a shake-up two years ago where it introduced a yearly increase – always set to happen from March 31.

Once it comes into play tomorrow, it means up to a 9.3% increase on customer's bills each month.

BT has said the average price increase will be £3.50 a month – or £42 a year.

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Last year customers only had a 4.5% rise to contend with, but rising inflation has pushed up higher costs.

BT always adds 3.9% onto the inflation rate to calculate the figure – so this time around it's based on December’s rate of 5.4% announced earlier in the year.

A BT spokesperson said: “As usage across our networks continues to increase and with our customers relying on us for connectivity more than ever before, it’s crucial we continue to invest in our networks, services and the latest technology.

"As such, and in line with our terms, our prices for existing customers will be increasing from March 31, with a similar rise also being introduced for new customers.

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"We remain committed to supporting customers on low-incomes or facing financial hardship, and BT is freezing prices for financially vulnerable customers."

But it's not only BT hiking bills over the next few days either.

Plusnet and EE are both part of BT Group too, so customers of these providers will see a price increase at the same level as BT’s.

Plus Vodafone is hiking prices at the start of April too.

How much will my bill increase by?

Whether you're with BT or not, your internet provider or mobile network should contact you to let you know how much your bills will increase.

BT has said that it will continue contacting customers, via email, post and text, well ahead of their prices changes.

But there's an easy way to work out how much more you're set to pay, yourself.

Just find out what 9.3% of your current monthly bill is – you can use an online percentage calculator to work that out.

Then add those two figures together – this will give you your new monthly payment.

To find out your annual cost, times that total figure by 12.

How can I cut costs?

Price rises could prompt you to consider switching to a cheaper company, but make sure you check your contract first.

If you do decide to switch, comparison websites such as Compare The Market and Moneysupermarket can help you to find cheap deals.

But you can only "jump ship" if you're already out of contract.

BT has confirmed that you can't leave your contract early just because of the upcoming price rise.

This is because the annual hike was included when you signed your agreement.

If you decide to leave anyway you could face penalities by cancelling before your agreed contract is up.

But Ofcom has revealed that as much as 40% of all broadband customers are currently out-of-contract so these customers are free to leave BT without any penalties.

It also leaves them free to negotiate a new deal with the broadband provider.

One Virgin Media customer saved almost £700 on their TV and broadband package just by asking the company in such a way.

Meanwhile, families on benefits such as Universal Credit are often able to get cheaper broadband packages.

BT offers a basic £15 a month phone and broadband package for households that claim certain benefits – this deal isn't affected by price increases this year.

But several other companies provide special discounted rates for customers who are on Universal Credit or other benefits as well.

Virgin Media also has a cheaper deal for people on Universal Credit.

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The £15 a month Virgin Essentials offer is only available to existing customers – but it could be a good option if you’re already signed up and are looking to reduce your costs.

There's also an O2 Virgin Media scheme to help hard-up Brits get free mobile data.

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