Virgin Media will increase monthly bills for millions of its broadband and television customers across the UK by the biggest single price rise in years. Starting from March 1, 2022, the average Virgin Media customer will see prices rise by £4.70 a month. That’s around £56.40 extra to be paid each year for the same speeds. Of course, since this is the average, some customers can expect to pay much more too.
Customers with broadband contracts with rival companies, including BT, EE, TalkTalk and Vodafone, do not yet know how much extra they’ll be paying each month – but since the rate is linked to inflation, experts expect these companies to also hike prices by the biggest margin in years. Virgin Media raised prices for all customers by an average of £3.63 a month last year, or around £43.50 a year. However, some exceptional customers on older contracts saw bills increase by as much as £54 a year in 2021, meaning they’ll be paying an extra £110 by the end of this calendar year for their connection. It also means the average Virgin Media customer in 2022 will be forced to pay more than the small minority who experienced the biggest increase last year. Ouch.
The really bad news? If you’re still within the minimum contract term with Virgin Media, there’s nothing you can do.
The company reserves the right to increase prices as its own costs rise with inflation. However, if you’re out of the minimum term of your contract – that’s usually 18-months with Virgin Media – then you’re free to shop around and switch to another provider, or a new deal with the same provider. A report from Ofcom estimated there are 8.7 million people who are out-of-contract in the UK right now and could be getting a better deal, so it’s definitely worth logging into your online account with Virgin Media or checking the paperwork sent out at the start of your contract to work out whether you’re got wiggle-room to negotiate or not.
The current increase, which is equivalent to an extra 16p per day to use your connection or watch via Virgin Media TV 360, does not apply to every single one of Virgin Media’s 15.5 million customers. Vulnerable customers, including those on the Essential broadband package for people receiving Universal Credit, as well as Talk Protected landline customers will not see their prices change.
Speaking about the £4.70 a month increase for millions of customers, a spokesperson for Virgin Media said: “While we recognise a price change is never welcome, with rising costs and our customers using their services more than ever, we are reviewing our pricing to fuel further investment in our network and services, both now and in the future. We’re committed to providing brilliant services and excellent overall value, and consistently give our customers more for their money than anyone else.”
If you’re one of the 8.7 million people who are free to shop around for a better deal, it might be worth switching to one of the current deals available from Virgin Media. The company has dropped prices across its fibre broadband line-up – and ditched the £30 set-up fee (something it didn’t even do with its blockbuster Black Friday savings last year). With £30 extra in your pocket, that’s over half of the annual price rise saved already!
Don’t forget, if you haven’t changed your broadband contract in a while (this applies to Virgin Media and every other broadband firm), you could be paying more for slower speeds than most of the current deals offer. Switching to a new 18-month deal might not only save you money each month, but in all likeliness, you’ll see faster download speeds and a newer Wi-Fi hub with better connections too.
In the current crop of January Sales from Virgin Media, the most affordable option is the M100 broadband plan, which offers average download speeds of 108Mbps and upload speeds of 10Mbps. For comparison, the average home broadband speed in the UK was measured at 70Mbps last year, so this is a substantial step-up. Netflix requires 5Mbps to stream in High Definition, so multiple people will be able to comfortably watch in crisp 1080p in different rooms – while also taking part in FaceTime calls, backing up photos to the cloud, downloading video games and software updates, streaming music and radio, and much more.
Usually priced at £44 a month when you’re out of the minimum contract term, Virgin Media customers can sign-up for 18-months of M100 speeds for £26.99 a month. On top of that saving, you’ll also see the £30 upfront cost slashed too. So, while 18-months of the usual £44 a month price (coupled with the £30 one-off set-up fee) would typically total £822 over the course of the contract, you’ll pay just £485.82. That’s a saving of £336.18.
Virgin Media was charging £28 a month for its M100 plan until very recently – which is still a saving on the £44 out-of-contract pricing. However, it’s the removal of the £30 set-up fee that will really make the difference when you sign-up. Coupled with the first months cost, you’ll usually need to pay well over £50 in one lump sum to Virgin Media. Dropping that below £30 will make a real difference to your current account balance after the strenuous Christmas and New Year period.
Elsewhere, Virgin Media has also dropped the price of its other plans. M200, which boasts average download speeds of 213Mbps, has plunged from £50 a month down to just £32.99 a month. M350, which unlocks download speeds of 362Mbps, has dropped from £56 a month down to £38.99 a month. And Virgin Media’s M500, which offers download speeds of 516Mbps – over 7x faster than the average broadband speed in the UK, plummets from £62 a month down to just £44.99 a month.
As mentioned above, all of these plans also lose the usual £30 one-off set-up cost too – adding to the savings available.
Virgin Media has started the ball rolling with the announcement of its 2022 annual price rise, with BT, EE, TalkTalk, Three Mobile and Sky set to follow in the coming weeks. It’s set to be an expensive year, so make sure you’re making savings wherever you can – including the latest round of broadband deals.
If you want to see how your new bills will compare with the other deals available on the market, Express.co.uk has rounded up the latest broadband prices below…