How much do we spend?
As our 24/7 reliance on technology has increased, so have the costs. According to the communications regulator, Ofcom, the average household spend on home phones, broadband and mobiles now stands at ?85.25 per month. According to Broadbandchoices.co.uk, customers switching broadband suppliers could save up to ?336 a year by getting the best deal, while Citizens Advice suggests mobile phone firms are selling customers contracts that cost on average 130% more than they need to.
Three simple must-dos
1 Try asking your current provider for a better deal If you don’t want the hassle of switching mobile phone or broadband providers, simply ask for a better deal. To succeed, you’ll need to be out of your minimum contract and preferably armed with information about cheaper deals from rival providers. Your aim should be to either get your existing package for a better price, or to get a better tariff for the same money. If your provider doesn’t budge, threaten to leave. More often than not you’ll be transferred to its cancellations – aka retentions – department. Here, staff have the power to offer better, unpublicised deals.
2 Don’t languish on old contracts Mobile phone and broadband contracts both tend to be for 12, 18 or 24 months. When you reach the end of your contract, obviously it may well pay to shop around for a better deal.
Broadbandchoices.co.uk has a service that reminds you when your contract is up. Providers typically reserve their best deals for new customers – so shopping around will allow you to access the better prices and perks on offer, says Vix Leyton from the site.
3 Don’t overpay It may sound obvious, but don’t pay for more than you actually use on any contract. Billmonitor has a tool that analyses your mobile phone usage and matches you to a better new contract. Light users might even find that a contract is not for them and they’d be better off on pay-as-you-go. The same goes for broadband deals, especially if you bundle in a TV service too. Do you really need 200-plus TV channels? Probably not.
Five easy ways to save
1 Question the need for speed Fibre optic broadband offers faster speeds than old-style ADSL but consider whether you really need a super-speedy connection. Virgin Media offers fibre optic up to 200MB – but you’ll only really need this if the whole household piles onto broadband at the same time, downloading films and gaming online. A 17MB connection will be adequate for most people – and cheaper.
To speed up a sluggish connection, upgrade your router and connect your desktop to the router via an ethernet cable rather than wifi.
2 Use your mobile for all calls Most mobile phone contracts include hundreds of minutes of calls, or unlimited calls, to other UK mobiles and landlines. Using your mobile for all your calls can negate the need to pay for calls on your landline.
3 Split handset and tariff According to HandsetExpert.com, customers are wasting an average of ?92 a year on smartphone contracts when they’d be better off buying a handset outright and pairing it with a sim-only tariff. If your phone’s working fine, try and resist the urge to upgrade it every time a new model comes out. There are some pretty cheap sim-only deals available – TPO has a rolling one-month contact offering 1GB data, 500 minutes and unlimited texts for ?3.99 a month.
4 Bundle vs unbundle Sky, BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk all offer bundles where you pay a monthly price for a phone line, broadband and a selection of TV channels (sometimes you can add a mobile too). But although it might be convenient, it might not be your cheapest option. MoneySavingExpert compares bundle prices with “unbundled” deals where you take different services from multiple providers. It also takes into account sign-up bonuses from providers to give a total cost for the first year of the contract. For instance, pairing a Sky, EE or Plusnet line rental and broadband deal with a Now TV pass is cheaper than any triple-play bundle on the market.
5 Use a cashback website If you decide to switch either mobile or broadband suppliers, it’s worth doing so via a cashback site. Topcashback and Quidco pay a reward when you click through from them to buy goods or financial products.
In general, the more pricey the contract, the more cashback you’ll get. To give you an idea, Topcashback is offering up to ?175 if you take out a BT quad-play bundle of broadband, calls, BT TV, and a sim-only mobile deal. But even just taking out a ?12 a month sim-only deal with Three can net you ?60 cashback – almost halving the cost for the year.
Advanced money-saving tip
Recommend a friend Virgin Media will knock ?50 off your bill if you’re a cable customer and refer a friend who signs up – they get ?50 off their bill too. You can make up to 25 referrals in any 30-day period. Sky’s deal is similar. Plusnet’s scheme gives customers a monthly discount for every person who joins following their recommendation. It varies on the product, but is normally 50p or 75p off their bill for each month the friend stays on as a customer.
Glasgow City Council1 leader, Councillor Susan Aitken, has welcomed news that thousands of Glaswegians are among the first in the UK to benefit from a new ultrafast broadband network. The new ultrafast services have already gone live in more than 9,000 thousand homes and businesses in parts of Langside, Linn and Rutherglen and, as part of a visit to Langside telephone exchange, Ms Aitken met with a number of engineers who are building the new broadband infrastructure in the city.
Download speeds of up to 330 megabits per second (Mbps) – about ten times the UK average – will be available to thousands of homes and businesses in the pilot areas.
People using it will be able to download a two hour HD film in just 90 seconds, a 45 minute HD TV show in just 16 seconds, and a nine hour audio book in just three seconds.
Ms Aitken said: “High-speed broadband has an essential role to play in everyone’s lives – whether at home or in business. It’s great news that thousands of local people in Glasgow are among the first in the UK to be able to upgrade to a new technology which offers ultrafast speeds.
“As demand for faster broadband speeds increases, I was pleased to be able to see how the latest technology will meet people’s needs. The arrival of ultrafast broadband means local people and firms can do more online, more quickly and on multiple devices and there’s lots of evidence to show it boosts the local economy. I want Glasgow to be the leading digital city in Scotland and this investment from Openreach will support that.
“I know many of my constituents in Langside will welcome the benefits the faster speeds will bring, especially to businesses and home workers. I look forward to seeing more ultrafast broadband being rolled out by Openreach across the rest of the city.”
David Nixon, Openreach senior fibre delivery manager in Scotland, said: “My team are excited to be part of this work in Glasgow to pilot the latest technology. We already have the first Glaswegians benefiting from our ultrafast speeds with G.fast, and our engineers are continuing to install more of this new technology across the city.
“Developing the technology of the future is a key part of Openreach’s work.
Around nine out of ten homes and businesses already have access to superfast speeds in Glasgow over the Openreach network, with a choice of around 580 Service Providers.
Faster speeds are more important than ever, and we’re sure our new ultrafast network will play an important part in the future success of Glasgow.”
Top news stories
Superfast broadband is coming to Coventry with internet users promised speeds that are more than 30 times faster than the current average. Gigabit broadband is coming to the city courtesy of Hyperoptic, which has announced plans to expand its services to Coventry. The company is the UK’s largest gigabit residential broadband provider and has recently secured an additional ?100 million in private sector funding to accelerate building its full fibre network across the country.
Hyperoptic has already started installing the superfast broadband1 in some Coventry buildings, with plans to extend it to thousands more homes and businesses over the next few years. Gigabit broadband is the next generation of broadband internet service which provides speeds of 1,000Mbps, which is also referred to as 1 Gbps or gigabit internet. What this means for users is they will have an internet connection that is way faster than today’s average broadband service2.
It means 100 photographs or songs can be downloaded in as little as three seconds, a HD film downloaded in as little as seven seconds and whole box sets in minutes. Unlike existing broadband providers that only run fibre to the green box at the end of the street, Hyperoptic installs fibre all the way into a development or building. It means users can enjoy the fastest broadband in the UK today and not have to worry about peak-time slowdowns, buffering and timeouts.
Installation is already place in buildings across Coventry and the company says it will be investing millions in broadband infrastructure across Coventry over the next two years, with the aim of connecting thousands of residents and businesses.
Hyperoptic’s regional director Tim Huxtable said: “We are very excited to bring our gigabit connectivity to Coventry – with gigabit speeds come limitless opportunities.
“Residents can live and work without connectivity constraints.
“In this digital age no one wants to see a buffer sign when they are trying to stream their favourite TV show – or a frozen screen when they try and pay for something online.
“Our broadband helps, rather than hinders, people from enjoying everything the internet has to offer.
“Residents in Coventry don’t have to just take our word for it – our customers are the biggest catalyst in fuelling our growth, by sharing their experiences with their neighbours, family and friends – they have even given us a 4* Trustpilot rating – the highest in the industry.”
Over the last six years Hyperoptic has extended its full fibre broadband to more than 350,000 homes and businesses.
Today’s top stories
It is currently expanding in 27 UK towns and cities, including Coventry and Birmingham, and aims to have its service available to more than two million homes by 2022 and five million homes by 2025.
- ^ http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/coventrys-15m-masterplan-roll-out-12145046 (www.coventrytelegraph.net)
- ^ http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/best-worst-broadband-speeds-coventry-13243749 (www.coventrytelegraph.net)