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Jan 2023 Inflation Figures Confirm Huge UK Broadband Price Hikes UPDATE

Wednesday, Jan 18th, 2023 (8:03 am) - Score 8,656

Most of the major UK broadband ISPs can now confirm how much their annual price hikes will be after the Office of National Statistics (ONS) published their latest UK inflation figures, which saw the Consumer Price Index (CPI) hit 10.5% (up from 5.4% in Jan 2022) and the Retail Price Index (RPI) reach 13.4% (up from 7.5%).

In case anybody has forgotten. Most of the biggest broadband, phone and mobile providers tend to base their annual price rises off inflation figures – CPI or RPI – as “published” in January each year (this is actually the rate for December), which is then introduced to consumer bills between March and April of that same year. The exceptions being, at least for now, Sky Broadband and Virgin Media, which adopt a different approach.

NOTE: Inflation is the general measure of how quickly prices for goods and services etc. are rising in an economy, which is often expressed as a percentage.

For example, BT, EE, Plusnet and Vodafone all adopt a policy that says their average prices will rise by the level of CPI inflation, as published in January, plus an additional 3.9% (plus 3.7% on TalkTalk and “up to” 3% on Shell Energy). But a few others, such as O2 and Virgin Mobile, adopt the steeper RPI rate, as published in February, plus the usual 3.9% (i.e. we’ll have to wait until next month to know the figure for them).

Suffice to say, the new CPI rate of 10.5% means that those providers adopting the CPI + 3.9% policy will shortly be increasing their prices, on average, by 14.4% (up from 9.3% last year). The only good news here is that inflation has been falling for the past couple of months (i.e. CPI peaked at 11.1% in October and so did RPI at 14.2%), thus the latest CPI rate is down again from 10.7% last month (14% for RPI) and it’s expected to keep falling.

Confirmed 2023 Price Hikes % for UK Telecoms Providers

BT 10.5% CPI + 3.9% = 14.4%

EE 10.5% CPI + 3.9% = 14.4%

Plusnet 10.5% CPI + 3.9% = 14.4%

Vodafone 10.5% CPI + 3.9% = 14.4%

O2 / Virgin Mobile = TBA (February Announced RPI + 3.9%)

TalkTalk 10.5% CPI + 3.7% = 14.2%

Shell Energy 10.5% CPI + 3% = 13.5%

Three UK 10.5% CPI + 3.9% = 14.4%

Naturally, if you’re already outside your existing contract term, then the best way to save money is to switch ISP (where viable alternatives exist). But those who are happy with the service they receive, or who perhaps have no other viable options, may prefer to try haggling for a lower price when the hike hits (Retentions – Tips for Cutting Your Broadband Bill), although your mileage may vary (it’s mostly the big ISPs that engage in haggling).

Alternatively, there are a lot of smaller ISPs out there that only very rarely increase their prices, if at all, and quite a few of those have also adopted price freezes. In particular, if you’ve recently been covered by a new alternative full fibre (FTTP) network, then the aggressive market competition that currently exists often ensures that your prices should remain low.

Finally, those who are on benefits (Universal Credit etc.) may also have the option of taking a cheaper Social Tariff, which is another way to cut your costs – see our article on this: A Quick Guide to UK Social Tariffs – Getting Broadband for £15. But you won’t always be able to access the fastest speeds or most advanced routers / service features with a social tariff.

In playing devil’s advocate, it’s also important to point out that broadband and mobile operators are NOT immune to cost increases. Most ISPs are suffering under the burden of rising supplier and lease costs, as well as energy prices and the ever-rising levels of consumer demand for data.

Internet providers are also frequently adding all sorts of new services (e.g. FTTP), developing new systems, adopting new networks and implementing costly new Ofcom rules, which means that price hikes, especially in a market of extremely high inflation, are hard to avoid. But if you really want to fight against this, then vote with your feet and switch, if you can.

NOTE: The UK ads watchdog is considering new guidance that could require information about mid-contract prices hikes to be more prominently stated in future ads (here).

UPDATE 10:59am

We’ve had a response from Ofcom on all this.

An Ofcom spokesperson said:

“While Ofcom doesn’t set retail prices, companies must treat customers fairly – particularly during an exceptional period of hardship for many households. Our rules are clear: everyone must be told upfront about any future price rises before they sign up, and we’re investigating whether phone and broadband firms are sticking to this.

We’re also concerned about the transparency of inflation-linked price rises in contracts, and how well they’re understood. We’re examining this issue to ensure customers’ interests are protected.”

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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17 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

    Looks like it will be now broadband after June then unless plusnet can give me a good deal

    1. Avatar photo haha says:

      Plusnet always do – You know this you’ve no doubt had several over the years 🙂 I’ve seen FTTP customers on less than the base price of FTTC so it’s always gonna happen.

  2. Avatar photo Jacques Hardie says:

    ISP’s who play this game should be forced to increase current new customer listed prices by the same amount, and not be permitted to reduce them below whatever the new prices are for each package for 12 months when they are re-evaluated again.

    The fact BT et all will continue to sell new contracts at the price you signed up for is an absolute joke.

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Often they do increase the package prices, but on the post-contract rates.

    2. Avatar photo NE555 says:

      What’s especially predatory is when ISPs offer “January Sales” to get people to sign up, who find 2 months later they are paying far more than the headline figure they agreed to – whilst at the same time they are tied in for 2 years, plus another price rise half way through.

  3. Avatar photo Jonathan says:

    You have to be prepared to walk away if you don’t like it

    1. Avatar photo Jacques Hardie says:

      Imagine if every business behaved like this with fixed price increases (CPI or RPI) + 3.9%. AN inflationary spiral would be baked in forever.

      The best thing to do as a consumer is avoid signing these contracts in the first place.

      Admittedly I did take out an EE contract a couple of years ago but timed it to make sure it would expire before the prices increased the following year. When they announced price increases last year, I immediately requested a PAC and then called me within a few hours to offer me same package below what I was paying the previous year. I eventually quit on principle this year refusing to entertain any offers.

    2. Avatar photo John says:

      This practice needs to be banned. If someone signs up for a price then that price should be honored, not randomly increased

    3. Avatar photo BillO'really? says:

      if it’s baked into your contract that you accept these things then you’re out of luck. I’m hoping to leave virgin media this way but I actually can’t see it in my contract so we’ll see. I’ve been wanting to leave them for months now

    4. Avatar photo haha says:

      No problem VM honour the OFCOM Code Of Conduct so when this happens you will be offered to leave within 30 days penalty free. Always been that way

  4. Avatar photo DaveIsRight says:

    It’s still staggering to me that they’re allowed to do this as a matter of course and that consumers are not allowed to dump them mid contract. It’s an absolute disgrace that we can’t cancel when this kind of forced and grossly disproportionate cost hike hits. IF we were seeing the employees get a 10%+ wage increase across the board then I would actually be considerably less bothered. However that’s not the case, most of this will go into the pockets of the board and of shareholders. It CERTAINLY won’t result in a better service.

  5. Avatar photo haha says:

    Sky are finally being kicked into touch (and some of it admittedly by themselves. Sky TV was never cancelable when prices went up – unlike the Broadband But now with Stream and with it being on a 30 days contract option they are finally not going to be able to bully people anymore. Nice to see.

  6. Avatar photo Iain says:

    Now we know what percentage they’re putting up their prices in April, it’s even more illegal for them not to advertise new contracts with full price transparency.

    Under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, it is a misleading ommission, under Section 6(4), not to either show:

    (d) either—

    (i) the price, including any taxes; or

    (ii) where the nature of the product is such that the price cannot reasonably be calculated in advance, the manner in which the price is calculated;

    Normally, ISPs pretend (ii) applies, but it clearly can’t when the precise rate of inflation is now known.

    1. Avatar photo Iain says:

      (P.S. and the same regulations say this key information has to be shown prominently as well; it can’t be hidden or shown untimely.)

    2. Avatar photo Serena says:

      That’s the basis for the ASA/CAP (ad regulator) examination of this practice. They recently consulted on proposals that would mean stuff like “rises by CPI+3.9% from April 2023” would have to be next to the price statement in the ad. I’m hoping they also consider terminology like “fixed” or “£25 for 24m” because the Spring price rises directly contradict the implied stability of the price.

      I imagine it will take a while for this to be completed – can’t imagine most ISPs will go quietly on it. Thankfully, the ASA/CAP have history with tightening up broadband price and speed ads, and are hardly in the pockets of the telecoms industry.

  7. Avatar photo Mike says:

    It’s about masking the inflation the people voted for, if they ban it, the price hike will be moved elsewhere, probably to the initial price.

  8. Avatar photo Moto says:

    Absolute farce. Teachers, postmen, nurses go on strike in attempt to get salary increase and battle the inflation. Majority of other jobs aren’t strong enough and are stuck on whatever income they have. And what, ISPs can just show middle finger and do price increase just because they CAN? Hell, why not go up 50% or 150% if needs be, this is what our small print in the contract says. ooo why other companies don’t follow that, it sounds like a brilliant idea, even better – completely legal! Never mind this is exactly what fuels inflation. And just besides, wonder how much of that money is going to go to actual employees

Comments are closed

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