Plusnet announce 2015 price rises

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PLUSNET have announced their annual round of price rises - which include a hike to their Line Rental Saver deal of £30, making it one of the least attractive deals available.

As of September 2nd, line rental will increase from £15.95 or £15.99 to £16.99 - the same as BT charge.

And from that date, anyone renewing or signing up for the yearly line rental deal will find that instead of paying £155.88 for 12 months, they'll be asked to hand over £185.88.

The news of the price rises comes soon after it was revealed that new 38Mb fibre customers would be getting far lower upload speeds than existing customers.

How much?

The jump in the cost of Line Rental Saver will really impact on Plusnet's image as a bit of a bargain.

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At present, the equivalent monthly cost of Line Rental Saver is just £12.99 - among the cheapest line rental prices out there.

But from September, that'll rise to the equivalent of £15.49 a month - and there are no calls included with that.

Anyone who does want inclusive calls must pay for evening and weekend calls - the cost of which is increasing from £2 a month to £3 a month.

At present people paying for their line rental monthly still get weekend calls thrown in - but like TalkTalk and Sky, Plusnet are moving to a line only model.

The main changes are as follows:

Product Before price increases After September 2nd
Line rental £15.95 or £15.99 per month £16.99 per month
Line rental Saver £155.88 £185.88
Evening and weekend calls £2 per month £3 per month
Anytime calls (with or without 25% off international calls) £5 per month £6 per month
Anytime International 300 £7 per month £7.50 per month
Call set-up fee 15p per call 16p per call
Calls to 01, 02, and 03 numbers 9p per minute 10p per minute
Calls to mobiles 12p per minute 13p per minute

There's been no word of any changes to the cost of their broadband packages - but most ISPs tend to increase the price of their line rental rather than their broadband.

Plusnet also say their early termination fees and some of their call charges will change, but those details haven't been revealed as yet.

Under Ofcom rules, customers whose basic subscription costs will be affected should be able to leave without penalty within 30 days of receiving a letter notifying them of the price changes.

But as we explain in our guide to early termination fees here, basic subscription costs don't include features like upfront line rental and extra inclusive calls.

And yet the wholesale cost of providing those core services, via the Openreach network, has largely stayed the same, and in some cases decreased.

Some Plusnet customers have even received refunds recently as a result of changes to the classification of the broadband markets that affected those prices.

A matter of cost?

As if those changes weren't enough to frustrate existing customers, Plusnet have also changed the details of their up to 38Mb fibre package.

New customers or those moving to the 38Mb deal will get much reduced upload speeds compared to existing customers: a maximum of 1.9Mb rather than 19.5Mb.

That change came into effect on June 17th.

In a thread on the Plusnet forum, it was confirmed that anyone who put in an order for 38Mb fibre on June 16th or before would still get the faster upload speed:

Reply #30 on 17/06/2015, 10:04
...if the order has already been in pending since yesterday or earlier, you'll get 40/20. Any other regrades/downgrades are 40/2.

The likely reason is the cost of providing the faster connection. With fibre packages, there are three different "upload profiles", with maximums of 2Mb, 10Mb and 20Mb.

Most 38Mb fibre comes with an upload profile of 10Mb. The wholesale price Openreach charge for that is £189.48 plus VAT per line, per year.

The 2Mb profile doesn't cost much less - at £183.48 plus VAT per year, there's just a £6 (plus VAT) difference.

But there's a huge leap in the wholesale price of the line when an ISP wants to offer the 20Mb upload profile.

That costs £220.08 plus VAT per year - at least £30.60 more than the 10Mb profile.

The difference is largely because the 20Mb profile is usually reserved for use with up to 76Mb connections, which themselves cost much more.

Indeed, Plusnet have been shown by Ofcom to offer the fastest upload speeds in the UK for users with their 76Mb fibre, clocking in at an average of 17.1Mb.

A silver lining?

Plusnet may become one of the more expensive phone providers for a while, but it may only be a temporary state of affairs.

That's because BT usually announce their upcoming price rises in August, and the other ISPs take their lead from them.

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For example, this time last year no one charged more than £16 for monthly line rental; in August, BT announced they'd be putting theirs up to £16.99.

Over the following months, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin all announced that they too would be increasing prices to more than £16, and several smaller ISPs adjusted their prices up to.

Fuel Broadband, who only launched in October 2014, were charging just £15 a month - but in June this year they raised that to £16.40, as well as increasing the cost of their broadband from £4 to £5 a month.

Is this the start of yet another round of increases, or will Plusnet be an anomaly? Somehow we think it may be the former.

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