The UK’s biggest broadband and mobile companies have agreed to improve low-cost offers to help customers stay connected as the cost of living soars.
The bosses of BT Group, Openreach, Virgin Media O2, Vodafone, Three, TalkTalk and Sky made a raft of commitments to support vulnerable customers at a Government-led summit at Downing Street on Monday.
The measures include allowing people struggling with their bills to switch to cheaper packages or agreeing manageable payment plans, exploring tariffs, improving existing deals and promoting them better.
NEW: I've just secured an agreement with the UK’s biggest broadband and mobile operators to help customers with the rising cost of living. pic.twitter.com/C98VJ4tQeP
— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) June 27, 2022
Providers, with the help of Government, are also to raise awareness of low-cost products to those on Universal Credit.
While social tariffs, or discounted deals, are already available to customers who receive certain government benefits, anyone struggling to pay their mobile or broadband bill can now “expect support from their provider if they ask for it,” according to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “Families across the country face increased anxiety about keeping up with bills, so today I agreed with broadband and mobile industry bosses what more can be done to support people during this difficult time.
“I’m pleased to report the industry is listening and has signed up to new commitments offering customers struggling with the cost of living help to stay connected. Those who need support should contact their supplier to see what is available.”
Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said the pledges “must progress to tougher, permanent protections”.
“We still see too many examples of sharp practice like overcharging loyal customers, inflation-busting mid-contract price rises and a shockingly low take-up of social tariffs. So this is by no means job done,” she said.