When the time comes to choosing your new package or bundle it's tempting to go for one of the the cheapest broadband and phone deals on offer - which are typically under a fiver a month. However, what you may think is the bargain deal of the century could turn out to be a lot more expensive due to the hidden costs charged by some of the UK's broadband providers.
The Hidden Costs Of Cheap Broadband And Phone Deals
In this article, we reveal some of the hidden costs to look out for when buying cheap broadband and phone deals. Please don't ever assume that a supplier with the cheapest monthly broadband and phone price is the best option for you. You need to understand the full year costs, plus additional charges like calling technical support lines and customer services - otherwise your monthly bills could rocket.
Cheap broadband and phone deals may not be so cheap where you consider the following:
1. Monthly Prices - Are They For An Initial Time Period Only?
Don't get fooled by attention grabbing advertising promoting the low monthly prices of a stand alone package or a cheap broadband and telephone bundle. Take a look at the deal a little more closely. Many of the monthly costs are for an initial time period only after which they increase to a higher price for the remainder of your contract period. They'll also exclude any potential one-off set up costs like installation, line activation or router delivery, so its best to look at the 1st year costs instead. Our tool which compares the best broadband deals by postcode enables you to compare cheap broadband and phone deals by both monthly cost and 1st year cost.
It's also worth looking at our guide to choosing the best broadband deals in my area to get more information.
2. Phone Call Plan - Weekends Only?
Many of the cheaper broadband and phone deals include weekend phone calls only to UK landlines. This is fine, so long as you stick to making these type of calls over the weekend. If you use your home phone regularly during the week, you'll be charged for each call as per your chosen supplier's regular tariff - which will result in higher monthly phone bills.
3. Calling Customer Services Or Technical Support - How Much Do They Charge You?
If you experience problems setting up your broadband or later lose your internet connection, the chances are you'll be on the phone to their technical support or customer services team. Some suppliers charge these calls at premium rates up to 50p per minute whilst others charge at national call rates which can cost up to 8p per minute when ringing an 0870/0871 number.
You really need to check the providers call charges before you sign up with them, or otherwise what you save on switching to a cheaper deal could be eroded by your phone bill.
It's also worth remembering that phoning either premium rate or national rate numbers from your mobile will cost you even more!
4. Smaller Monthly Download Limits - You May Be Charged If You Go Over Them
Many of the broadband providers have placed smaller monthly download limits on their cheaper broadband deals. This limit or cap, measured in gigabytes, restricts the amount of downloading you can do in a month, or sometimes during peak traffic periods where the ISP will use a method called 'throttling'. Don't think downloading just means music, videos and films, everything you do on the web, from sending emails to online shopping adds to your download total. If you go over your monthly limit you could be charged for the additional kilobytes you've used, or your supplier could move you to a more expensive package.
If you're worried by this, the easiest thing to do is opt for a slightly more expensive deal with an unlimited download usage allowance.
For any cheap broadband and phone package you go for, please make sure you read and fully understand the suppliers download limit and fair usage policy before you sign up.
5. Switching Providers Or Moving House - What's The Charge?
If you're changing your broadband to a cheaper supplier, you will need to check your contract with your existing provider as you may have to pay a cancellation fee if you're not at the end of your contract period with them.
You can also incur additional costs if you move house. Providers frequently charge a fee of around £50 to move your broadband connection with you, so its worth finding out in advance, especially if you're planning a house move within the next year.
What Do I Do Next?
Now you're in the know on what hidden costs to look out for when considering a cheap broadband and phone deal, we recommend you read our advice on how to choose the best broadband deals in my area.
Alternatively, go straight to our comparison page and find the best broadband deals by postcode.