Cost of phone calls, broadband and line rental to go up from January 2013 as BT charges more for popular products
BT has announced it will increase prices for calls, line rental and broadband by up to 6% from the beginning of 2013.
The move will anger thousands of customers at a time when household bills are set to hit an all-time high after energy companies began to raise their prices last week ahead of winter.
Line rental for those paying by direct debit will increase by 85p a month to £15.45 while the cost of paying by cash or cheque will increase from £1.89 to £2, resulting in a bill of £17.45 a month for line rental from January.
BT scrapped its discount for paperless billing for new customers in 2010 and for existing customers last year, so the only way to save money on landline rental now is to pay the whole year’s cost in advance. BT’s upfront payment option, Line Rental Saver, costs £129 for the year.
The cost of BT’s most popular calls package, Unlimited Anytime Plan, will rise by 25p a month to £5.15. The package includes all calls to landlines and 0845/0870 numbers but does not include international calls or those to mobiles. Those who pay for their daytime local and national calls outside a call plan will see their cost rise from 7.95p a minute to 8.41p. The company’s call setup fee, which is charged per call, will rise from 13.1p a call to 13.87p.
Some broadband and BT Vision customers will also pay more. The cost of BT’s cheapest TV deal, Essential, will rise £1 a month to £5. BT’s broadband customers will see prices rise by up to £1.55 a month depending on what speed they pay for.
“We’ll be changing some prices in January, but we’ll then be freezing many key prices until 2014,” said John Petter, managing director of BT’s consumer division. “We’re also telling customers how they can save money with BT.”
Following January’s price rises, costs in those areas will be frozen for a year. However, this will not stop the telecoms company increasing costs elsewhere. This year it raised the costs of Line Rental Saver from £120 a year to £129 after initiating a similar price freeze at the end of 2011.
BT has also launched a new calls package, Unlimited Anytime Plan Plus, to include the same calls as Unlimited Anytime with the addition of half-price per-minute rates to mobiles. It will cost £8 a month.
“At a time when many cash-strapped consumers are already struggling with their household bills, a round of price rises from utility companies could be one increase too many,” said Ernest Doku, technology expert at uSwitch.com. “We have just seen one of the big six energy companies, SSE, hike its prices – this news that BT will follow in its footsteps in the New Year will give some the January blues already.”
BT will contact its customers to tell them of the changes from 1 September.