Virgin Media customers are to see their bills leap 4.7% this autumn in a price rise that will affect up to five million households.
The firm said the ‘majority’ of customers will see their bills jump on 1 November – with increases of between £1.99 and £3.99 a month – although this will depend on the package you’re signed up to.
Customers with Virgin broadband, phone and TV will see their bills rise by £3.49 to £3.99, broadband only and broadband and phone customers will see their bills increase by £1.99 to £2.99.
The announcement follows three price hikes in 2016 – one of which included a 5.1% jump for 5.2 million customers across its services.
The new changes will take effect on 1 November 2017, although Virgin Media has warned that some customers could see changes to their bills as early as October 2017.
The telecoms giant told Mirror Money it’s now in the process of writing to consumers to inform them of the changes.
A Virgin Media spokesperson said: “We do everything we can to balance keeping our prices competitive while investing to meet the ever-increasing appetite for broadband and content.
“Online usage increased by more than 35% in the last year and streaming now accounts for nearly 60% of the total traffic on Virgin Media’s network.
“We’re investing more in our ultrafast network to continue offering the UK’s fastest widely-available speeds.
“This all comes on top of must-see TV programming – from Virgin TV Exclusives to the only place where you can watch all of the live football action from both Sky and BT Sport in a single package.”
In a statement, the network also announced the arrival of three new packages this autumn, including ‘Full House’ – a plan that allows customers to bolt on Sky channels to their package at a cost of £15 for Sky Cinema £25 for Sky Sports and £35 for both.
Will I be notified of any changes?
If you’re a Virgin Media customer and pay for a monthly TV or phone package, it is likely you’ll be affected by the changes in price.
The company is writing to inform customers of changes this week, this will then come into force on November 1 2016.
3 ways YOU can beat the rise
Ofcom says you have the right to cancel if you’re not happy with the increase – and you’ve a full 30 days to do so.
Ewan Taylor Gibson, broadband expert at uSwitch.com, explains: “Those who want to try and find a cheaper deal with another provider now have 30 days to leave without penalty from receiving a notification of the increase from Virgin.
“But with price hikes now an annual event across all providers, it doesn’t leave many ways to turn. The best way to keep costs down is to ensure you switch whenever you get the chance, and take advantage of an introductory deal for new customers.”
1. You have 30 days to leave Virgin Media and switch to another provider
Under rules set by telecoms regulator Ofcom, existing customers who are not happy with the price hikes can leave without a penalty charge.
From the day they receive details of the price change from Virgin, customers will have 30 days in which to cancel their contract.
To do this, you’ll need confirmation of the price rise to hand. You’ll have to give Virgin 30 days’ notice.
2. Use your haggling power
The very best deals are often reserved for new customers only, however, if you take advantage of your 30 days’ right to leave – you may well be able to haggle an even better deal.
Don’t settle at the first offer through. Networks will always offer the lowest deal first – but keep at it, until you’ve matched your benchmark price. If you decide to stay, don’t forget to ask about any freebies you may be entitled to – like for instance a new TV box or free broadband for a month.
3. Ditch the TV package
If you rarely watch television, it might be time to reconsider your package to make sure you’re not wasting cash on a service you don’t actually need. Here are a few alternatives to consider:
Amazon Instant Video: Instant video costs £79 a year, but also includes free one-hour/one-day delivery across Amazon items and access to its extensive TV and films database. See our Amazon Prime FAQ to find out more or test it out for free.
Now TV: Invest in a one off box at around £20 (currently £22.79 with a free 3 months Sky Entertainment Pass ). The box will convert your standard TV into a smart device. Users can then purchase 24-hour and 30-day Sky passes ad hoc for football matches, movies and entertainment from around £5.99 one-off and contract free.
Freeview Order a one-off box – this Smart Freeview HD Digital TV Receiver is now £49 at Tesco Direct – and allows you to instantly watch over 50 TV channels with 11 in HD and access apps and on-demand too. Most TVs purchased after 2014 will already have built-in Freeview, however if you’ve an older model, you can upgrade with a Freeview box – simply connect it up to your TV with a scart lead.
Top 5 Netflix alternatives – and more free ways to watch your favourite TV shows in the UK
The best alternative TV and broadband deals out there
We’ve teamed up with MoneySupermarket to bring you the best three deals this week – have a scroll below to see what’s on offer.
1. TalkTalk TV with Fast Broadband, Sky Sports & Sky Cinema
What’s the deal? Unlimited TalkTalk TV, internet and weekend calls.
Package costs £32.45 a month for 12 months, set up and installation is free.
2. NOW TV Combo: Brilliant Broadband with Entertainment Month Pass
What’s the deal? Unlimited broadband and access to Sky Entertainment channels. Free calls not included.
Package costs £24.99 a month for 12 months, set up and installation is free.
3. EE TV with Unlimited Broadband and Weekend Calls
What’s the deal? Unlimited TV, broadband and free evening/weekend calls. A free £75 Amazon voucher is also included.
This deal costs £32.50 month for 18 months, and includes a £7 set-up fee.