Ofcom has announced that out-of-contract broadband customers in the UK could pay less on their bill from around March next year. From February, customers must be informed that their current contract is coming to an end, giving them more of a chance to enter into a new contract. BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Plusnet, EE, and Virgin Media have all announced price commitments which will make pricing fairer for those who are out-of-contract.
Before challenging ISPs, Ofcom conducted research into the situation. It said that 40% (8.8 million people) were out-of-contract and that those who sign a deal with their existing provider could save £8-9 per month while new customers were seeing savings of £9-10.
BT, Sky, and TalkTalk have announced that out-of-contract customers will be able to get the same deals as new customers when they take out new contracts. Unfortunately, those with BT will only get to do this when they’re sent a best tariff notification. Sky also announced that its customers will pay no more than £5 per month once their contract ends. BT has announced a similar cap but didn’t give a price.
BT also said that those who can’t access superfast broadband will pay less than those on entry-level superfast connections; it also said it’ll provide a one-off price reduction for vulnerable customers that are out-of-contract on expensive deals. TalkTalk and Virgin Media also plan to conduct annual price reviews with vulnerable customers to make sure they’re on the best deal for their needs, providing automatic discounts if they don’t hear back from the customer. BT, EE, Plusnet, and TalkTalk have also committed to protecting out-of-contract customers from above-inflation price rises.
Commenting on the measures, Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, said:
“Broadband customers who are out of contract can make big savings – around £100 a year on average – by picking up the phone to their current provider and signing up to a better deal.
“And in future, everyone will be told about the best tariff on offer. Thanks to the commitments we’ve secured from major broadband firms, many customers – including the most vulnerable – will pay less.”
Over the last several years, Ofcom has done a lot of work to make sure that broadband and mobile customers are treated fairly by their suppliers. Recently, it launched its Boost Your Broadband campaign which helps people understand their current network speeds, and how much they need.