Finding suitable broadband deals can be a time-consuming chore, but it can yield significant savings for those willing to do a little research. UK broadband providers such as BT, Virgin, TalkTalk, and Sky offer a wide range of contracts and packages that can cater to your needs, but how do you know which is best for your home’s needs? No two deals are the same, and although measures are in place to help protect customers, many providers take advantage of your complacency to charge more than you deserve.
In 2018 Ofcom launched a campaign designed to assist people in finding better broadband deals, as well as alerting customers of each provider’s respective deals in a transparent way. Naturally, this means that customers should be seeing savings, but Ofcom’s research shows that although 94% of UK homes and businesses could be upgrading to faster broadband, less than half have taken up better offers.
Package deal or no-deal
One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is: how important is a package deal to you? Bundling together mobile, internet, and television such as Sky’s Broadband Essential + Sky Entertainment can be a great way to reduce the administrative efforts of paying your bills and receiving customer support for your service. On the other hand, package “deals” can often end up costing more than if you were to shop around for separate mobile, internet, and television deals from various companies.
Furthermore, it’s often a hassle to switch providers quickly. Referred to as friction, those with bundled deals may find it more difficult and costly to switch one of your services to another provider and negotiate your bundle, as the contracts typically stipulate that you must pay for all services whether you use them or not.
The decision will come down to time and effort versus cost. If you’re simply looking for the best deals, it’s generally considerably cheaper to have separate mobile, broadband, and television contracts, each with the most affordable provider you can find. If you value your time and want a simple all-in-one bill, it’s more convenient to go with a bundled package.
Don’t get locked-in with multi-year contracts
Most contracts last 12 full months, but shorter contracts are also available for students. Longer contracts can look appealing, and often boast higher speeds, lower prices, or other incentives to sign up, but caveat emptor. A long contract length means that you won’t be able to simply move to another provider when you see a better deal, and furthermore, the incentives and other benefits may quickly wear off or become standard in the coming months, which means that you essentially receive no additional benefit yet are locked into a longer contract.
If you’re looking to maximise your savings, opt for shorter contracts, especially those that entice customers with gift cards or switching incentives. Once the contract expires, be sure to find a new provider offering something better – higher speeds, larger transfer limits, or better incentives.
The problem with staying with one provider too long is that it’s easy to become complacent. The deal you were originally offered may no longer apply and you may be subject to paying far more than previously, and may find that even new customers with the same package as you are paying less!
Look to switch providers frequently
Generally, broadband deals with the same provider degrade over time. Consumers are recommended to switch frequently to take advantage of signup bonuses and switching incentives. Another option is for subscribers contact their current provider and threaten to leave to get a better deal. Most Brits are considered “sleepers” in that they continue using their same provider long after the contract has expired. Not only can this complacency lead to higher costs, but they are foregoing better deals that may be offered by simply shopping around.