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      Beat back the price hikes!

               IT’S NOT JUST energy bills,
               council tax and National
               Insurance: sadly, huge price
      hikes are hitting the BROADBAND
      and MOBILE PHONE market too.
      There is a sliver of a silver lining
      though, as some can and should use
      this as an opportunity to radically
      cut your bill.
        FIRST, let’s go through the price rises… many BT,
      EE, Plusnet and Vodafone customers will see 9.3%
      rises, TalkTalk 9.1%, Shell 5.4% and Virgin Media £56/ It’s tough for me to list them
      yr. Your exact rise depends on your package, so it can   here as they change so often. But as a range: for basic
      be less than this (my team’s compiled the info at mse.  11Mb broadband and speed prices can be as low as £13/
      me/PriceHikes2022). Thankfully though those on   mth once you’ve factored in the vouchers (eg, Amazon
      the special social tariffs for those on low incomes will   or a prepaid Mastercard) or you could get fast 63Mb
      generally not see price rises.  
                                            broadband for £16-£20/mth incorporating the sign-up
      Why this may be an                    incentives. 
      opportunity to cut bills                l MOBILE COSTS ARE SHRINKING – why
        These firms have millions of customers who are out   pay more than £10/mth? If you’re happy with your
      of contract and have simply been rolled on to (often   phone, then you can save big by switching your Sim
      pricier) tariffs. And that means you’re holstering a   - the little chip in your phone that gives it its identity.
                                            Prices for Sims with 4GB data – the average used per
      serious consumer weapon – the ability to leave – which
      gives you a powerful negotiating position.   month – have virtually halved since 2016.
        For those who are in-contract, which means you   Yet in my recent Twitter poll, around 30% said they
      actively signed up to a new tariff within the last year or   pay more than £30 a month. Fair enough if you’re
      possibly two (do check), then the price rise was likely a   repaying a handset, roaming or have credit issues
      term of the contract, so there’s little you can do until the   and don’t qualify for cheaper deals. But many are
                                            overpaying for no good reason – if that’s you, especially
      contract lapses – at which point follow the info below.
                                            if you’re out of contract, do a Sim check to cut your
      Option 1: SWITCH & save...            bill. A few quick tips:
                                              n It’s easy to keep your number. Just text PAC
        In most cases, the biggest savings come from moving   for free to 65075 – then give that code to your new
      your custom elsewhere, to a firm that is salivating to   provider.
      win your business. Here’s how to bag the best deal as a
      newbie...                               n Lots of firms use the same signal. There are only
                                            four networks in the UK (EE, O2, Three, Vodafone).
        l HALVE YOUR BROADBAND & LINE       All the rest piggyback on their signals: for example,
      COSTS.                                GiffGaff uses O2, Smarty uses Three, Plusnet uses
        Many are paying £30-£45 a month on standard   EE. Find who else uses your preferred network’s signal
      packages. Yet the best deals come from short-lived   and it should be similar (though do check Wi-Fi calling,
      promos you can’t get direct from firms, involving   5G and tethering as these can vary).
      cashback or vouchers – they’re on comparison sites.    n Top deals are fast moving. As I write there are
        We try and compile the best ones at broadband.  deals for as little as £4ish a month over 12 months
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