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Brits who don’t bin their broadband providers are losing £83 million each year

20th June 2015 Print

Problems with moving broadband supplier are costing affected UK households a staggering £83 million in potential savings on their bills. Worryingly, over two million frustrated broadband customers have tried and failed to switch to new providers in the past year, according to new research from price comparison and switching service Those that have switched saved an average of £36 on their annual broadband bills, while 10% of customers saved more than £50.

This research comes as industry watchdog Ofcom changes the rules governing how customers switch broadband suppliers. From Saturday 20th June, the new broadband supplier (people want to move to) will handle the whole process, rather than the provider the customer is leaving. However, over four million broadband users will not benefit from these new changes, as they don’t apply to Virgin Media’s network – just those switching from and to broadband on BT Openreach, which includes BT, Sky and TalkTalk customers. And despite change being needed across the telecoms market, the new rules don’t apply to mobile and pay TV customers either.

uSwitch’s research also reveals that Brits are actually more likely to get a new mortgage than move broadband supplier. Across the telecoms market, 43% of customers have never left their pay TV provider, 31% have stayed loyal to their mobile network, 32% have been with the same home phone provider since the beginning and 30% have never moved broadband provider.

Even though 68% of the broadband deals currently advertised last just one year or less, only 16% of customers have actually switched their broadband supplier in the last 12 months. Of those who’ve never moved broadband supplier, a quarter (25%) say it’s not worth the hassle or it’s too complicated. Almost one in eight (13%) pay TV customers who’ve never moved say it’s because they’re tied into bundled services.

More than half (51%) of bill payers would be more inclined to switch their mobile, pay TV and broadband if they did not have to contact their current provider and the network they were moving to handled and guided them through the process. Ofcom is already investigating claims from customers that providers make it hard for them to leave, with long call queue times when they are trying to cancel, billing issues, and problems unlocking handsets post contract. 

More than four in 10 (41%) bill payers would be more likely to switch mobile, pay TV or broadband if it could be guaranteed they would not be left without service, while more than a quarter (26%) would be more tempted to move if the process happened within a specified time frame.

Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband expert at, says: “While we’re getting the hang of switching some home essentials like car insurance, when it comes to broadband, pay TV and mobile, people are nowhere near as proactive.  

“But this is not an open-and-shut case of consumer apathy. Telecoms is the only sector still languishing under a system where the company you are leaving handles the switch. They’re hardly going to fall over themselves to pack you off to a rival provider.

“The good news is that Ofcom is making improvements to broadband switching from 20th June, which will hopefully improve some customers’ experiences of moving to new providers. The bad news is this won't include mobile, pay TV or Virgin Media's broadband network.

“Industry-wide changes are needed to have far more of an impact. The price difference between the cheapest and most expensive broadband deals on the market right now is £120 per year, so we’re not talking about small change. Moving providers or moving deals really does save people money, so it should be simple for consumers to do.”