Virgin Media to raise broadband prices by 11%

Updated: 

fibre optics

Unfortunately, it seems that this autumn is shaping up to be the season for price increases for broadband, phone and pay-TV. In June, Sky threatened its pay-TV customers with price rises of 'up to 10%' from 1st September.

However, last month the broadcaster confirmed that customers with Sky TV packages will be hit with an average tariff increase of 2.5%. As a result, some Sky TV subscribers will pay an extra £2.50 a month (£30 a year) for their TV packages. From 1st October, TalkTalk is hiking the cost of its broadband and line rental. The basic TalkTalk Essentials broadband package will increase by £1 to £7.50 a month, while its monthly line rental increases by 45p to £15.40 a month.

The latest pricing news is that, with effect from 1st October, Virgin Media is to deliver inflation-busting tariff increases of up to 11.1%, with the monthly cost of its broadband jumping by £2.50.

Currently, Virgin's 30Mb broadband-only service costs £22.50 a month, but this tariff will rise to £25 from October. Those using Virgin's 60Mb service will also see their monthly fee rise by £2.50, from £27.50 to £30. This is a lesser - but still substantial - increase of 9.1%. Likewise, Virgin's student broadband tariffs will go up by £2.50 a month from 1st October.

The good news is that only a proportion of Virgin Media's 4.5 million broadband subscribers will be affected, as this price rise applies only to Virgin's broadband-only customers. Also, Virgin's broadband-only customers don't need to pay landline rental, which saves them around £15 a month.

When telecoms companies increase their prices, they always justify these price hikes by arguing that they need ever-higher tariffs in order to invest in innovation and expansion. A Virgin spokesperson justified this latest round of price rises as follows: "With our unique cable network, we're the only provider able to supply broadband without needing a phone line and, with the fastest widely available speeds and unbeatable service, Virgin Media remains great value for money."

However, customers usually view these announcements cynically, instead suspecting that customers are being fleeced to fuel higher profits and bigger payouts to company shareholders.

The good news is customers unhappy with these latest price hikes can choose to move provider without paying early exit fees. This is the case as long as they are outside of their minimum contract period.

That said, customers can leave without penalty if contract changes leave them 'materially disadvantaged'. In other words, if users would be substantially worse off financially or otherwise, then they can make a case for an early and penalty-free exit. If necessary, they can take this argument to Ofcom, the telecoms regulator.

To help you to 'ditch and switch' providers, here are three of the current bargain bundles on offer from market leaders BT, Sky and Virgin Media. Each of these three deals offers substantial savings on standard packages, as well as being considerably more attractive than outdated 'legacy' tariffs.

BT

Sky

Virgin Media

Package

BT Broadband and calls

Sky Broadband Unlimited

Up to 30Mb broadband and phone

Incentive/discounts

Half-price for 12 months

Free £25 Sainsbury's Gift Card

Free BT Sport

Half-price for 12 months or FREE when taking The Sports Bundle.

£25 M&S voucher (starting 30.08.2013)

Half-price for six months

Monthly fee

£8 for 12 months, then £16

£5 for 12 months, then £10 a month

£7.25 for six months, then £14.99

Monthly line rental

£15.45

£14.50

£14.50

Highlights

Unlimited broadband plus BT's new sports channels for free

Totally unlimited broadband

Unlimited fibre-optice broadband

Broadband

Up to 16Mb unlimited broadband

Up to 16Mb unlimited broadband

30MB fibre-optic unlimited broadband

Call package

Inclusive weekend calls to UK landlines and 0845/0870 numbers (for calls up to an hour; hang up and redial to avoid charges)

Inclusive weekend calls to UK landlines and 0870 numbers (for calls up to an hour; hang up and redial to avoid charges)

Inclusive weekend calls to UK landlines, 0870 numbers and Virgin Mobiles (for calls of up to an hour; hang up and redial to avoid charges)

Set-top box and wireless router

Free BT Home Hub 4 (worth £69)

Free Sky Hub

(worth £69)

VM Super Hub Free to existing customers upgrading but £75 to new customers

Standard installation

Free

Free

£49.95

Other features

Free BT Sport app and online player

Free BT Smart Talk app: use your smartphone's Wi-Fi connection to save money on calls to 0800, 0845 and 0870 numbers and calls from abroad to UK landlines by using your BT home calling plan

Unlimited internet on the go at thousands of Sky WiFi hotspots

Customers can get access to Virgin Media WiFi on the London Underground at no extra cost.

Offer open to

New customers signing an 18-month contract

New & Existing Sky customers signing a 12-month contract

New customers purchasing online and signing an 18-month contract

Offer closes

Ends soon

Ends soon

Ends soon



As you can see, all three deals offer half-price broadband for an initial period: six months at Virgin and 12 months for BT and Sky. BT's offer comes with free BT sport via its app and online player, giving you access to Premier League football matches at no extra cost.

However, in terms of budget broadband, Sky's latest deal wins by virtue of its low £5 half-price monthly charge, rising to £10 after a year (plus £14.50 monthly line rental).

Compare broadband deals with broadbandchoices.co.uk