Are you nearing the end of your current broadband plan?
Congratulations! You’re in prime position to score an awesome new deal – if you play your cards right.
You’ve got to be proactive though. Getting the best-possible value for money will require a little shopping around, some planning, and potentially a phone call or two.
Here’s how to get a great deal when your broadband plan is ending.
Whatever you do, don’t just let it run
99% of the time, when your internet contract ends, the provider is going to hike the price. Often, this is a very significant increase – a 50% jump in your monthly charge isn’t uncommon.
For example, Virgin’s Media’s popular VIVID 100 plan currently costs you £27 a month for the first 12 months. But after a year, when the contract expires, your fee instantly becomes £47 per month – an incredible 74% increase.
This is why it’s so important to keep track of when your plan is actually expiring. When you do sign a new contract, set an alert on your phone for when it ends, to give yourself some time to find a new deal in 12/24 months.
Ring your provider
If you’re happy with your current internet service provider (ISP), you can simply sign up for their latest deal online to save yourself some hassle. It’s likely they’ll have a plan available similar to the one you’ve currently got. It may be a few pounds more expensive though, potentially in return for a little speed boost.
However, if you’re looking to save every penny possible, it’s definitely worth ringing your current provider and asking what they can do for you. If you’ve been with them for a long time, you have a decent amount of leverage to get them to agree to the terms of the old plan if you lock in for another 12/24 months.
Don’t let them upsell you to a plan with features you don’t need though. There really isn’t any point in paying for 300 TV channels if you only ever watch BT Sport for example.
This isn’t to say that you should stay loyal to a single ISP in the hopes that you’ll get some sort of special deal five years down the line. Not all providers allow their sales staff to make these arrangements, and in the long run, you’ll get a better deal by shopping around.
Looking for a new provider
When your current ISP isn’t willing to make a deal, or you haven’t been satisfied with their service, it’s a great idea to check out other broadband providers in search of a better deal.
The first thing to do is look at some reviews online. This gives you a basic understanding of the different plans on the market at the moment, and what each provider is particularly good at. For example, Virgin has some of the fastest speeds, while TalkTalk offer a range of incredibly cheap plans (albeit with longer-term contracts).
Like we said, if you’re looking to get the best value for your hard-earned pounds, there’s no point buying a plan with features you’re not going to use. If your family is doing fine with the speed you’ve currently got, there’s little reason to upgrade. Look for broadband-only plans if you never use your landline, but note that you’ll still have to pay for line rental (unless with Virgin Media).
You should also consider any special/one-off deals available. For example, EE will give you an extra 20GB of monthly phone data usage if you use their home broadband service as well.
Once you’ve made a little shortlist, do some research about the new providers you’re considering. What do their current customers say about their service? Do their contracts have any hidden charges, like fees for calls that last more than a certain number of minutes?
What’s actually involved in switching?
Changing broadband provider at the end of a contract is potentially one of the easiest ways to save money on utilities at the moment. Although it may seem like a bit of a hassle, the transition process is a piece of cake if both companies are on the Openreach network.
Basically, Openreach is a company owned by BT which manages the UK’s internet infrastructure. Every British ISP (except Virgin and a few smaller fibre providers like Hyperoptic) use Openreach infrastructure.
What this means is, if you’re switching from an Openreach provider to another Openreach provider (like TalkTalk to BT, or EE to Sky), the swap is really easy. Simply purchase the new plan with the new provider, and they’ll handle the cancellation of the old service – you’ll get a seamless switch.
However, if you’re transferring to/from a non-Openreach provider (like Virgin Media) then you’ll have to notify the old ISP about the switch. You may experience some downtime, but you’ll still be able to keep your home phone number.
When your broadband plan expires, spending a few hours carefully considering your options could save you hundreds of pounds over the next year or two. It’s really worth the extra hassle to shop around (or harass your current ISP) for the best-possible deal.
Whatever you do, don’t let any provider bill you for months where you’re not locked into a contract – paying the “lazy tax” can get incredibly expensive. Like we said, setting some sort of reminder for when your plan is about to expire is incredibly important. If you miss the deadline, you’re likely to be literally throwing money down the drain.