Line rental and broadband price rises on the way to BT Retail
Where BT Retail goes others usually follow so for those looking to escape the latest round of retail price rises from BT Retail you need to pick carefully or just accept that you will be exercising your right to exact a contract early due to a price rise several times a year.
The majority of the latest round of price rises take effect on 3rd July 2016 and the list of key changes is:
- Line rental going up to £18.99/month from £17.99/month
- Line rental saver rises to £205.08 (equivalent of £17.09/month
- Call set up fee rises to 19p
- Weekday calls will be 11p/minute
- BT Kids, Kids Extra and Music rising to £4/month
- Standard price for Unlimited ADSL2+ will be £20/month
- Standard price for Unlimited Infinity 1 will be £26/month
- Standard price for Unlimited Infinity 2 will be £32.50/month
- Standard price for Unlimited Infinity 3 will be £45/month
- Standard price for Unlimited Infinity 4 will be £52/month
- BT Total Entertainment will be £16/month
The announcement comes at the same time as the last round of BT Reward Cards finished, and offer prices have been re-jigged with a series of price offers available until the 5th May 2016.
For existing BT customers those who will be affected by the price rises should get the appropriate notification and even if in a minimum term contract and are affected can leave without penalty, but in a broadband market where set-up fees often apply moving may not always save money. One tactic that can work for some customers is to negotiate a deal once their contract comes to an end.
The price rises are not the result of any wholesale price rises, but one presumes things like employing more call centre staff may be adding to the costs and the continuing popularity of streaming video which means core network capacity is continually upgraded may be behind some of the broadband cost rises. Another less popular reason may be that rather than a BT Sport Lite pack the broadband packages appear to have access to BT Sport channels 1,2, Europe and ESPN again.
With sixteen years of experience we believe it is safe to say that what we will see in the rest of 2016 is other providers increasing their line rental, with most electing to undercut BT Retail slightly. For those hoping Ofcom will put an end to the annual rises, remember most major complaints have been that BT Retail is too cheap compared to the wholesale costs.
With the entry level unlimited superfast service from BT retail costing £44.99 per month once all the offers expire, then is plenty of scope for vertically integrated operators to undercut while also rolling out their network. It does not soften the price rises, but some 15 years ago everyone got very excited when Pipex reduced its 0.5 Mbps ADSL pricing to £30 per month (line rental was around £10/month extra but you had a freedom to choose any provider for that).
Update 7:15pm There are some other changes on the way and these changes for some people may just be enough to offset the price rises. Existing Infinity 1 customers should see their package upgraded to the up to 52 Mbps download service as provided to new customers, though only those hitting the artificial up to 38 Mbps limit now will benefit. BT Cloud storage is increasing existing 5GB users should get a new 50GB allowance and those with the old 50GB (e.g. Infinity 2 users) will see a jump to 500GB, the unlimited Infinity 1 package is being listed as having a 100GB online storage option now. For those on the entry level usage capped broadband packages there is also changes, 10GB monthly allowances will rise to 12GB, 20GB to 25GB and 40GB to 45GB. Also customers will be able to get BT NetProtect for free. Finally perhaps in response to the constant moans about broadband and phone repair times, BT Retail is opting for a higher level of service from its suppliers in other parts of the BT Group, which should mean if a fault needs an engineer attending they should be sent 24 hours quicker than previously - oddly one of the BT Retail competitors reduced the care level it has on its services recently.