How consumers can beat looming mobile phone and broadband price hikes (2023)

Millions of households face steep hikes in the price of their broadband and mobile phone deals of up to 15 per cent in just a few weeks time.

Analysts predict the average family will see their phone bill increase by more than £17 per month or almost £210 annually. Broadband bills are set to rise by up to £95a year.

These broadband and phoneprice hikeswill kick in from late March or early April as providers pass on inflation-linked increases to customer bills.

Not all broadband and phone firms will increase prices this year, and not all tariffs will go up significantly, but some homes do face significant tariff changes.

Fortunately there are a few ways to bring down the cost of your mobile and broadband bills.

Shop around or haggle like a pro: there are a number of ways to drive down the price of your mobile phone and broadband deals

How to get a better deal on broadband

1) Work out your current situation

Before you can get a better deal you need to be sure what you have got currently.

If you have had broadband for a while it is quite likely that you may not know what connection speed you have, how long the contract runs for or even how much exactly it costs if it is bundled into a phone bill too.

If in doubt, contact your supplier and ask for the details above. If you have had broadband for more than a year then chances are you will no longer be tied into a contract, as most last 12 months.


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2) Work out what you need

Broadband deals vary depending on speed and how much you can download, which affects their price.

Unless you are an avid internet games player with a serious music and video downloading habit, it is very unlikely that you need a costly service offering unlimited downloads and top speeds.

Picking a broadband deal that suits your needs, rather than one that is overpowered, will save you money every year.

Most providers offer slightly different services, with different channels, calls packages and add-ons - so you will need to consider what you really need and try to avoid being persuaded by eye-catching deals.

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Why are mobile and broadband prices going up so much?

Broadband and mobile firms typically put their prices up based on two measures of inflation: the Consumer Price Index (CPI), published in January, and the Retail Price Index (RPI), as published in February.

How this normally works is providers take RPI or CPI, add on 3-4 per cent and hike their rates by that figure. This means increases of up to 15 per cent this year.

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3) Shop around

If you are at the end of your contract, your first point of call should be haggling with your existing supplier.

Broadband providers are battling to sign up new customers. If you have come to the end of your contract and threaten to leave they may offer you a better deal in return for signing a new contract with them.

In most cases they are unlikely to beat their best new customer offer, but if you think a rival service is better then tell them and they may try to beat it.

If you do decide to move, list your basic criteria and look around. This is Money's broadband findercan search the market for the best deals in your postcode for you in moments.

4) Know your rights

You can leave your contract without paying an exit fee under certain circumstances.

For example, if your provider announces a price increase that was not in your contract, you are allowed to cancel and find a better deal.

Likewise, if your broadband speed is below your provider's promised minimum, they have one month to fix the situation or you can leave with no penalties.

5) Check if you can get a social tariff

Social tariffs are cheap broadband deals for people on benefits.

These deals have existed since 2020, whenindustry regulator Ofcom demanded providers give low-cost options to the most hard-up customers.

Five cheapest social tariffs
ProviderPackage Price per monthContract length in monthsSpeedSet-up fee
EEBasics £121225 MB/S£0
VodafoneEssentials Broadband£121238 MB/S£0
Virgin MediaEssential Broadband£12.50Monthlyrolling15 MB/S£0
KCOMFull Fibre Flex£14.99Monthlyrolling30 MB/S£0
Lightning FibreSocial Tariff£14.99Monthly rolling50 MB/S£0
Source: Ofcom

How to get a better deal on your mobile phone contract

1) Work out what you REALLY need

These deals vary in terms of what you get and what you are charged. If you are at the end of your contract, or want to take out your first one, think about what you really need from a mobile phone deal.

2) Consider a SIM-only deal

If you already own a mobile phone handset, or can get one cheaply, you may be able to save money with a cheap Sim-only deal.

This is because most mobile phone contracts sell you two things - the phone and the cost of using it. If you already have the phone, you just have to worry about the cost of calls, texts and data.

Comparison experts Uswitch say customers can save up to £321 by taking out a Sim-only deal.

Users will need to make sure they don't exceed the limits stated when they sign up. If they do, extra charges could apply - and these can be expensive.

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The three cheapest Sim-only deals

Lycamobile Saver Plan

For £1 a month users get 1,000 minutes and 6GB of data, but no texts.

Lebara 3GB

This SIM-only deal costs £4.50 a month and gives 1,000 minutes, 1,000 texts and 3GB of data. It lasts for 12 months.

Talkmobile 3GB Data

This deal provides 99,999 minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of data for £4.95 a month.

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3) Consider a refurbished phone

If you need your first handset, or to replace an existing one, see if there is a refurbished phone that suits your needs.

Refurbished phones have been overhauled by experts to replace broken parts and improve their operation.

They work out considerably cheaper than new phones.

For example, an iPhone 13 costs around £600 to £700 for a new handset, whereas refurbished models cost approximately £500.

These savings are even greater for less in-demand phones, or older models.

Most Samsung Galaxy phones released in the last five years normally cost no more than £200 when refurbished, for example, but cost up to four times that amount new.

4) Be prepared to haggle

As your existing contract comes to an end, haggling with your provider can save you money.

Do your research first, and come prepared with some of the best deals you have found elsewhere.

Mention any issues you have had with your current provider, as this can give you an edge in any negotiations.

If you are not happy with whatever offer your provider makes you, say you are prepared to leave - this can lead to better deals miraculously appearing.

Mobile phone pitfalls: don't overpay for your telephone contract and look out for little-known social tariffs that can save you a fortune on bills

5) Be prepared to switch

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If you cannot get a deal you are happy with from your current provider, consider switching away.

6) Sell back unused data to Sky

If you have a Sky mobile deal you can cash unused data in, and use it to get money off new phones, tablets and accessories. For example, selling back 25GB of unused data gets you £10 off a new phone or tablet.

7) Check if you can get a social tariff

Cheap Sim-only deals mean there are only three social tariffs for mobile phone customers:

Smarty social tariff

Smarty, a sub-brand of Three, offersunlimited calls, texts and data for £12 a month. To be eligible, would-be customers need to be claimingIncome-based Employment Support Allowance, Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Universal Credit.

Voxi For Now tariff

This gives unlimited minutes and unlimited 5G data for £10 a month. Customers need to be on Jobseeker's Allowance, Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

EE Basics

This provides unlimited minutes with 5GB of data for £12 a month. Customers will need to be claiming Universal Credit, the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker's Allowance or Income Support to qualify.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That 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 commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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