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BT and EE Announce Price Hikes of up to 4.5%

Millions of BT broadband, TV and landline and EE mobile phone customers will see their monthly bills rise by up to 4.5% from 31 March.

Last year the providers, both owned by the BT Group, introduced new terms and conditions, allowing them to increase bills once a year by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the previous December, as announced in January, plus 3.9%.

The rate of inflation in December was 0.6%, allowing the providers to add 4.5% to the charges for any customers covered by the new terms. This means consumers who signed a contract with either BT or EE since 1 September 2020 or before 11 January 2019 will see bills rise by an inflation-busting 4.5% and won’t be able to duck out of their contracts to avoid the hikes without facing early termination fees.

BT and EE say the average price increase is less than £2 a month or £24 a year. For example, a £20 monthly bill will rise by 90p a month or £10.80 across the year.

However, those who signed up to their current deals between 11 January 2019 and 31 August 2020 are under different terms and conditions and will be hit with a smaller price hike of 0.6%. That hike will add 12p to a £20 a month bill, for a total annual cost increase of £1.44.

BT hasn’t specified exactly how many customers will be impacted by the 4.5% or 0.6% rises.

However, they have clarified that prices for its discounted BT Basic and Home Phone Saver deals won’t increase. BT Sport Monthly Passes will also stay at £25 per month because they’re not sold on a contract and can be cancelled at any time.

BT attributed the price hikes to increased traffic on its networks. Openreach, a division of BT and the provider of the majority of the UK’s broadband infrastructure, including for BT and EE Broadband, reported a doubling of traffic across 2020, as work meetings were swapped for Zoom calls and nights out for Netflix marathons. EE’s most recent released data, covering February to May 2020, also recorded increased usage. Traffic from data-intensive communication services like Skype and Zoom spiked 45% on the mobile network as the country entered its first lockdown.

A spokesperson for BT said: “Network usage is doubling as our customers rely on us for connectivity more than ever before, and this small annual increase reflects the investment needed to support growing demand.”

Plusnet, also part of the BT Group, isn't increasing its prices yet. Its terms and conditions for this year link prices to April’s CPI, which will be announced in May. From next year, however, Plusnet terms and conditions will be aligned with BT and EE’s and customers will see bill hikes of December’s CPI plus 3.9%.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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