Dan Howdle | February 16th, 2024
Yearly price rises are something you can expect from almost any telecoms provider, whether that be for mobile, broadband or TV. But this year, and to a greater extent last year, these price rises have been more significant thanks to high inflation.
Though rather steep, this year's price rises from Sky are actually rather conservative compared to much of the competition. As in 2023, Sky is raising its prices by the smallest amount compared to the competition. We're not going to justify the rises themselves here, but what we will be doing is explaining how much your bill is going up, what you can do about it, and how Sky's rises compare favourably to other providers.
Sky has recently announced its annual price rises across its entire range of broadband and TV products, and thanks to a lower rate of inflation this year, these rises are thankfully not as painful as in 2023 – an average of just 6.7%, in fact.
Sky is increasing its prices both for existing customers on April 1 (an interesting choice of date, but sadly not a joke). And it's worth bearing in mind that 6.7% is an average. Some packages and bundles are going up by more, some less. And whether or not you see a price increase and how much that will be will depend further on where you are in your contract as well as what services you take out from Sky.
Ultimately, how much your specific bill will rise – or indeed how much extra you are likely to pay if you're thinking of signing up to Sky as a new customer – will differ from one case to the next. Having said that however, this table shows how much typical packages and bundles might rise according to the average 6.7% Sky has announced. Note, the following figures do not show the new prices for these packages, but are examples of how current pricing would look with the additional 6.7%.
|Sky Broadband Superfast
|Sky Broadband Ultrafast
|Sky Broadband Gigafast
|Sky Stream + Broadband Superfast
|Sky Stream + Broadband Ultrafast
|Sky Stream + Gigafast
In a nutshell, everybody. No doubt there will be some exemptions – prices frozen on some packages just makes a lot of sense for Sky because it helps a lot to keep that average down. Some prices have actually fallen since last year, because Sky is very competitive and aggressive when it comes to tempting people onto its services.
It's no foregone conclusion that the packages and bundles at the top end will see the biggest rises, but that was certainly the case, look back, in 2023.
Here is how you're going to be affected, depending on where you are with Sky contract-wise.
If you're an existing Sky customer who's either still within your contract period or beyond it, you will already have received a notification from Sky, by email and by letter, informing you of exactly when your monthly tariff is going up and by how much. This communication will also have told you whether you were allowed to leave Sky and switch to another provider penalty-free or not.
We've more on this in the next section, but there are different rules for both broadband and TV customers when it comes to switching away in the face of a Sky price rise.
This is going to annoy existing customers quite a bit, so we're guessing this is something it doesn't want its existing customers finding out about: Sky prices won't change for new 2024 customers. So that's great news if you're thinking of taking out a new contract with Sky or you just have, but understandably quite annoying if you've been a customer for quite a while.
Broadly speaking, the prices of broadband and TV services typically rise annually in line with inflation. Most of us wouldn't have lost too much sleep back when inflation was at 1.5-2% annually and price rises were a couple of percent above that – it's not going to break the bank after all. But of course, inflation over the last couple of years has been much, much higher than normal, and that's affecting the price of these services dramatically.
Inflation is a measure of the rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is increasing, usually expressed as an annual percentage increase. In recent times, inflation in the UK has been rising steeply due to various factors, including increased demand for goods and services as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and higher energy costs.
The rise in inflation affects the price of broadband packages as providers face higher costs in acquiring and maintaining the necessary infrastructure to provide internet services. Additionally, the increased cost of goods and services may also impact the cost of labour, which can then result in higher wages and operating expenses for broadband providers, who may pass these costs onto consumers through higher prices for their services.
To put this year's price rises in context, let's take a look at price rises across the last five years compared with the rate of inflation (RPI). What's interesting when you look at the big picture is that Sky typically raises its prices in April at a rate exceeding inflation, while this year and last, when inflation has been much higher, it is actually lower than the rate of inflation.
|RPI Inflation (Feb)
|Sky price rise
Believe it or not there are a few things you can do if you're determined to take action to avoid being hit with these price rises. None of them involve sitting on your hands and waiting for Sky to change its mind, however – you'll need to do some work. And, the best course will depend on your exact situation, your package, and where you are in your contract.
For some, those just subscribing to Sky Broadband, this can be a sensible option. Take advantage of a new customer deal from another provider and benefit from whatever special offers available. To others – those with complex combinations of broadband, TV, multiscreen, premium channel bolt-ons and a satellite dish on the side of their home – switching is pretty much a non-starter. If you do consider switching away though, the rules differ slightly depending on which services you have.
Whether in contract of outside of it, when you received notification that prices were going up, you will have had the opportunity to switch within 30 days of the notification without incurring any early-exit penalties. This is an Ofcom regulation which Sky must abide by – it would likely not allow this were it not forced to.
The rules for broadband and TV do differ, though. And the rules that apply to bundles including both are the TV rules, not the broadband rules. So if you have a TV package from Sky either on its own or along with a broadband connection, you will have signed a contract allowing Sky to increase the price of your package annually by up to 10% without triggering the get-out-of-jail-free card.
This can be a good idea if you've been with Sky for a very long time, and you're out of contract. In contract you have nothing to bargain with, but if you're free to leave, Sky should show at least some small concern you may be taking up with a competitor. Haggling involves calling Sky and telling them you're thinking of leaving. Before making the call, though, it's a good idea to know what package and provider you're considering taking up instead. And make sure it's comparable to what you have – Sky will see no reason to offer you a discount if your potential new services don't stack up against what you've got.
If you're beyond your existing contract and want to stay with Sky, calling and offering to renew your contract can give you some bargaining power when it comes to how much you pay. Enough to counter the price hike? Yes, maybe. But it will depend on your services.
Sky's 6.7% (on average) price rise in 2024 sounds like a lot. And don't get us wrong, that is indeed a big rise compared to a few years ago. But it would be useful to put it in the context of how it compares to the other major providers. So that's exactly what we've done. We reckon you won't be so outraged by Sky's price rises when you see how it compares.
|2024 price rise
Source: Sky/Virgin Media/BT/TalkTalk
On average, prices are rising by 6.7% on 1 April 2024. If last year is anything to go by, this will mostly be soaked up by the higher-end, more expensive packages.
No. Sky must inform you of any rise it plans to make to your broadband and/or TV bill. And depending on what services you have, this may offer you the opportunity to switch to another provider without incurring fees.
Switching to another provider, haggling with Sky, reducing your services and offering to renew your contract with Sky are all possible ways to avoid the price rises, but which is best for you will depend on your situation.
No. If you take out a Sky deal now, your price won't go up till 2025. The prices you see now will be what you pay until next year.
No. New customers are classed as those who have either never been with Sky or been away/lapsed for at least 12 months. You may be able to offer to renew your contract with Sky and use that as a bargaining price to haggle down your monthly price a little.