Virgin Media will increase monthly bills for broadband, TV, and landline customers by an average of £4.70 from March, part of a wave of price hikes across the telecoms sector as high inflation bites.
Meanwhile, Virgin Mobile customers are in for an even more punishing price hike from April as the mobile operator tweaks its terms and conditions.
First, Virgin Media is writing to broadband, TV, and landline customers to inform them their bills will rise by a typical 16p per day from 1 March 2022. That’s an extra £4.70 on your monthly bill and £56 across the entire year.
This is similar to the price hike Virgin Media announced at this time last year, which boosted its monthly broadband bills an average of £3.63 from March 2021.
Virgin Media attributed the price hike to customers' increased appetite for data and ambitious investment in its network.
A spokesperson said: “While we recognise a price change is never welcome, with rising costs and our customers using their services more than ever, we are reviewing our pricing to fuel further investment in our network and services, both now and in the future.
“We’re committed to providing brilliant services and excellent overall value, and consistently give our customers more for their money than anyone else.”
VMO2 recently finished a two-year project to upgrade its entire cable broadband network to deliver gigabit (download) speeds. It’s now embarking on a £1.4 billion project to extend full fibre—theoretically capable of 10Gbps speeds—across its entire footprint of 15 million premises. That rollout is expected to be completed by the end of 2028.
Like other broadband providers, Virgin Media is also facing rising costs as a result of inflation—across the economy and particularly for electricity.
Virgin says that "vulnerable" customers—including those on its £15/month Essential Broadband package for people on Universal Credit and over 65s on the Talk Protected landline-only plan—will be spared the price increases.
Telecoms regulator Ofcom does allow customers to duck out of their contracts without penalty if their provider hands them a mid-contract price hike exceeding inflation. You’ll have to do this within thirty days of receiving formal notification of the price hike from Virgin.
But before you leap to a competitor be aware that most ISPs will raise prices this spring, many of them by even more than Virgin. Virgin Media’s broadband arm is one of the few telecoms providers, along with Sky and Three, which are still handing down static annual price increases. Most others have written annual price hikes based on inflation into their new contracts. With inflation soaring recently, that means massive bill hikes this spring—and because they were in your contract, you can’t avoid them.
O2, which merged with Virgin Media last year; BT and its arms EE and Plusnet; Vodafone; TalkTalk; Shell Energy Broadband; and KCOM have all written provisions into their contracts that raise prices each year based on the rate of inflation—either CPI or RPI—plus between 3% and 3.9%.
With inflation currently at the highest level in a decade—the CPI was 5.1% in November while the RPI hit 7.1%—customers of those companies should brace for price hikes of around 9% from March and April of this year.
Virgin Mobile will shortly adopt a similar model. It’s writing to customers to notify them of a change in its T&Cs to provide an annual price hike each April, based on the January RPI plus 3.9%. Those price hikes will apply to Virgin Mobile customers who join or renew under the new contract conditions.
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