back to article 1.5m Brits pay too much for mobile and crappy broadband – Ofcom

Around 1.5 million Brits are spending more than necessary by continuing to pay the same monthly fee for mobile phones after their contracts have expired. And four million households with standard ADSL copper broadband could upgrade to a superfast package for the same price or less. This is according to regulator Ofcom's annual …

  1. Snar

    24Mbps superfast?


    FTTC may help to reduce contention, but it's still crappy xDSL to the subscriber.

    1. SamX

      Re: 24Mbps superfast?

      With all the hype around GFast it looks optimistic now.

    2. macjules

      Re: 24Mbps superfast?

      Superfast services of 24Mbps are now available to around 95 per cent of the country.

      Could BT please details the 5% areas that don't get 24Mbps, as I rather suspect that they might find that that figure is really 50%? Those pesky zeroes, eh?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ofcom - Wise to read their small print. Ofcom's headline statements are as deceptive as BT t&c's.

      Hold on. Ofcom 'advertised' and told consumers in October 2017, Ofcom/BT in a joint deal, were reducing line rental by £7 a month for "BT landline only" customers from April 2018.

      BT have now just added £7 a month back again to that cost (£18.99) for keeping the existing BT landline, by having totally separate Virgin Media Broadband.


      BT's weasel fcukbuddy Ofcom really is just that.

  2. Lee D

    "Yet average monthly household spending on comms services has fallen by 8 per cent to £117, over the last decade."

    Wow. That's a ridiculous figure.

    I don't pay half that. (Which, by definition of averages, suggests that somewhere someone is paying twice that).

    1. Oddlegs

      'Household' spending. The average household is 2.3 people. Even with 2.3 mobile bills and home telephone/broadband it seems a little high. Some people must be spending an absolute fortune to skew the numbers.

      1. Lee D

        Honestly, you know you're in trouble when it starts to look like a monthly charge for Sky.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Even with 2.3 mobile bills and home telephone/broadband it seems a little high.

        Well, this household has four private mobile phones, a landline, mid-price Virgin Media broadband.

        Don't forget that forget that the market for communication services includes pay TV (Sky, VM, BT but also Netflix and similar) your TV licence and postal services.

      3. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Even with 2.3 mobile bills and home telephone/broadband it seems a little high

        Hmmm, yes, here too. There are five mobile phones and a landline with ADSL. Monthly combined bills somewhere just over half that £117, and I'm sure I could shave a few more pounds off if I really wanted to. Contracts are all SIM-only mind you, and have low data caps, so that might account for most of the difference

        On a related subject, FTTC is available at our local cabinet, but it would add £6 to the monthly bill. At the moment (and I could see this changing within the next couple of years) the 7Mbps sync (6-ishMbps throughput) I get on ADSL has proved more than sufficient, even with four school-age children.


    2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Yes it's nuts isn't it. I don't pay anywhere near that either. I'm down in the £30'ish per month group.

      I'm wondering then if they are including things like Sky TV packages or Netflix et al in that as well, rather than just phone and broadband. Then again I do know people that quite happily pay over £100 per month for their TV packages alone. I'm happy to not be one of them.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      I don't pay half that. (Which, by definition of averages, suggests that somewhere someone is paying twice that).

      Your stats are off but I think you're ignoring all the I-Phone owners who have to spaff mucho quids a month as part of their hipster hire purchase agreements. Wouldn't surprise me to see the average monthly bill for an I-Phone household well North of £200.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People can't be bothered

    "If executed effectively, this will give telecoms customers the facts they need to take advantage of what's available in the market, and would bring the rules into line with what's expected in other sectors."

    And once brought into line, depressingly it won't make any difference anyway - because most people can't be bothered to shop around, as is so well evidenced by the continued massive market share of British Gas in the energy sector.

    1. Lee D

      Re: People can't be bothered

      I shopped around when I moved into a new flat.

      Then the flat management agency pushed me back to their original meter provider because they do that for all new tenants as they take possession, but I "could just change it back".

      To be honest, the faffing about wasn't worth it. There's literally pence in it and it's not worth my time on the phone to cover that difference.

      I don't know about anyone else, but my hourly rate is more than I would save on any number of comparison sites (I know, I ran it and though not "the cheapest", the rest came with caveats, long contracts, was only an introductory deal or involved lots of hassle switching everything else).

      And that's when I'm *WORKING*. My free time costs a lot more.

      Though I am a CHAMPION complainer when it comes to it, just as a hobby if nothing else, I think I'm one of the few people who works out what it would cost me and realises that the hour spent moving things (even if it all goes perfectly) just isn't worth the saving and risk of something going wrong / costing me more / etc. in the grand scheme of things.

      Same for current accounts, car insurance, etc. etc. Once a year (when I get an annual statement or renewal notice), I click around and compare on the bigger sites. If the difference is more than £50 a year, it might be worth looking into it. Anything less just isn't worth the bother if I've had satisfactory service. If the saving is significantly more, however, I'm the first to just ditch a company I've been with forever, if nothing else than to inform them that my loyalty only extends so far - when I'm being given a duff deal, I will move.

      There's also a big difference between "cost" and "value". I could save a fortune if I moved to TalkTalk's cheapest tariff. I imagine that would be the worst possible thing I could do. (Again, the time and effort spent working around the problems that would cause isn't worth the monthly saving).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: People can't be bothered

        Well lucky you that you’re not JAM and sweating over every penny to make ends meet.

      2. SamX

        Re: People can't be bothered

        I'd agreed with you a a while ago. But, the switching sites have become better now. My energy switch site already has all the details, including my energy spend and my previous tariff rate. Yes, it is still a hassle to switch but it is worth it.

  4. Lee D

    Make ISP's charge per megabyte.

    Then watch as they all scramble to shove as many megabytes down your line as theoretically possible, and telling you about every upgrade possible to the line speed as soon as they are available.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The first hit... always "free".

    2. Gavin Ayling

      Re: Crikey, That Is Expensive...

      I suspect their out-of-date service is now a burden, but they are not going to turn away customers willing to pay more for a worse service.

      As a general comment, I really don't understand the concerns of OFCOM in these circumstances. If people want to pay more, then they should be left alone to do that. It's their money they're wasting, and we're all shareholders of these companies in our pensions.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    I've said this before...

    But when I do it, I get bitched at...

    "Different infrastructures, blah, blah, blah."

  7. Anonymous Noel Coward

    I spent a solid year paying £22.31 (later rising to £23.31) a month for half a Megabit.

    My connection magically fixed itself at the start of the month through the effort of absolutely nobody; and now I'm on 3,000 kbps down for the same price.

    And I'm not eligible for compensation or a rebate for the money I spent over the year because consumer rights in the UK is still a fucking joke.

    1. Lee D

      If you signed a contract agreeing to "whatever speed I get" for that price, and then didn't complain / cancel the service IN A SOLID YEAR of having it, then you don't have any consumer rights to fall back on.

      The service provided was as stated ("up to"), it was delivered, and you didn't deem it inadequate for an entire year.

      Sorry, I can see your point of view, but that's not how service contracts work.

      Additionally, complaining retroactively doesn't necessarily entitle you to a full refund for the whole year anyway, unless you complained on day one and kept that same complaint open all that time (in which case, why were your continuing to pay for it?).

      Otherwise, quite literally I could get 30Mbps on a 75Mbps theoretical line, not say a word for 10 years, and then sue the ISP for half my monthly rental back as far as my contract start when they upgrade kit or make my line better or force me onto a better package. Literally NO ISP would bother to upgrade you or fix your connections in such instances.

      1. Anonymous Noel Coward

        Not on a contract, complained since day one.

        As for changing providers, I would have gotten the exact same speed no matter who I was with - and yes, I did check this thoroughly - and the same more so than now.

        1. Lee D

          Even worse - no contract, little obligation whatsoever after a year of paying for it.

          I know you had no choice, as such, but it's not a consumer rights issue to pay for a good that was delivered according to the terms and conditions (which is a contract) just because you "could have" got a better deal if they'd performed better.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            You seem to enjoy rubbing people’s noses in it. Some people have literally no choice of alternative infrastructure, and they can complain until they are blue in the face and get nowhere. It’s not his fault it’s BT and the fecking government allowing them to continue such practices and not investing in Britain.

  8. Hans 1

    1.5m Brits pay too much for mobile and crappy broadband

    Then, when I claim you pay too much, I get bullshit like ISP's mobile providers need to rely on roaming fees and cannot do without .... my provider is doing fine, included roaming BEFORE the EU imposed it, is cheaper than ANYTHING you can find in the UK, operates in a country that is greater, in terms of km², than the UK, so more expensive when you consider antennas for coverage.

    IN THE UK, YOU ARE BEING MILKED, no ifs, buts, or maybes ...

    1. JassMan Silver badge

      Re: 1.5m Brits pay too much for mobile and crappy broadband

      IN THE UK, YOU ARE BEING MILKED, no ifs, buts, or maybes ...

      I totally agree, In France you get xDSL for 35€ /month with free phone calls to fixed lines almost anywhere in the world and a useful mobile contract thrown in for absolutely zilch. If you want to download unlimited movies to your mobile it still costs only 16€month extra. We have also been promised FTTH (not FTTC) within 3 years for the same price.

      Still, once Brexit is fully implemented I am sure that all the UK providers will drop prices 'cos it is those horrible Europeans who are forcing them to charge so much. T.May will open the market to all those wonderful US providers and allow them to throw net neutrality out the window just like Pai is trying to do for the US.

  9. Lorribot

    Ofcom broadband speed checker (, enter postcode and select explanation) defines broadband speeds as

    Standard, superfast and ultrafast denote different broadband speed categories:

    Standard broadband has download speeds of less than 30Mbps;

    Superfast broadband has download speeds between 30Mbps and 300Mbps;

    Ultrafast broadband has download speeds of greater than 300Mbps;

    So 24Mbps is below their defined standard fro superfast.

    What we need is for Ofcom to make ISPs charge only for teh speed delivered to the house. Then maybe Openreach would have an incentive to improve the shoddy service in some places as they would be able to make a business case for it where at the moment none exists as they get paid for delivering a type service not a standard of service.

  10. Zmodem

    tell that to EE and crappy tmobile who removed data pack topups without telling anyone and now its £1 day unlimited data which never works and you end up on edge, and can't download anything through your browser when tethered, can't do much, they have employed some sad old engineer from BT who is still living in the year 2000

    can't make the telecom's the same, that is breaking the monopoly rules of the merger

  11. Pangasinan Philippines

    While, here in Manila

    FTTH, (yes home) at 50Mbps and 100GB per month works out at £27.

    Includes fixed phone with free local calls.

    Bundled in a mobile landline+ cell phone (take home phone anywhere) for extra £3.50

  12. Flak

    The Law of Averages

    I'll be the smart*** here:

    If you pay half, someone else 'only' needs to pay 50% more to maintain the average.

    A bargain!

  13. Claverhouse Silver badge

    I pay £14 a month to Sky for broadband and even that's expensive since it recently dropped from 3MB to 2.5MB ( which should be reclassified as near-dial-up ), but it is truly unlimited. I could pay double and get fibre ( if it's available; no-one really can say definitely without coming out on a charged visit ).

    Yet then ! It's barely noticed that of late fibre providers have been offering 2 levels, one of up to 30GB for BT at £25 ( £35 later ); and unlimited at £42 ( £56 later ). I am not saying BT is greedy.

    But if I paid £10 more for the 1st my downloading would be cut to 30GB, which takes me about 40 hours right now. Then they would surplus charge. Furthermore, there's not a lot of point in a far better speed that uses up one's monthly cap in a few hours...

    So I would have to go for the 2nd for unlimited ( which I already have ); and that would cost me for the first 18 months exactly 3 times as much. I'm not saying Ofcom are talking out of their hats.

    I'd just be grateful if providers charged me a little more and gave about 10MB ASDL in this day and age, since they promise 'up to' 17MB.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022