Existing customers of a broadband provider won't be able to access the offers made available to new customers, although those at the end of their minimum term should be offered a better deal.
Customers who have recently switched away from a provider, or live with someone who was with the provider previously, may want to check if they're eligible for new customer offers before signing up.
While negotiating a new contract with an existing provider can lower our price, switching and signing up as a new customer will usually get the best deals.
Best broadband deals for new customers
Here are four the of the best broadband deals currently available to households willing to switch providers.
|Package||Broadband||Monthly price||Upfront price||Contract term|
|150Mb Fibre Broadband||150Mb average||£17.99||Free||24 months|
|Offer: Installed in 48 hours + Free setup|
|Full Fibre 500||525Mb average||£39||£4.95||18 months|
|Offer: £75 Reward Card + Free P&P|
|Fibre 2||67Mb average||Free
for 3 mths,
|Offer: Black Friday: 3 months free and free setup (was £31.99) + £100 BT Virtual Reward Card + (Ends 07/12/2023)|
|Full Fibre 2||82Mb average||£25||Free||24 months|
Alongside lower prices for the length of the minimum term, broadband offers for switching customers can include gift cards or bill credit, free gifts, and waived setup fees.
Read more about the best broadband deals this month.
Best broadband offers for existing customers
Since February 2020, broadband providers have to notify customers when they're coming to the end of their minimum term contract period.
These notifications must include details of any out of contract price increases the customer will be subject to, as well as details of the provider's best deals, including those for new customers.
However, just because providers have to tell existing customers of the best prices they offer new customers, they aren't required to make those prices available to existing customers.
Re-contracting with the same provider will generally save money by securing a cheaper price than the customer would be paying if they remained an 'out of contract' customer.
It's worth noting though, that while Ofcom found end of contract notifications have increased re-contracting, they also found some customers ended up paying more for their new contract, although this could be due to upgrading services.
Ultimately customers should be able to get a better deal by re-contracting, but the best deals will be for new customers and switching is the only way to get those offers.
Negotiating a better price
Customers at the end of their minimum term who want to stay with their existing provider can try negotiating, or haggling, for a better deal.
Often, providers will offer existing customers a new lower price if they're willing to sign up to another contract period.
When speaking to our provider we can negotiate a new deal by:
- Asking about deals advertised to new customers
- Say how long we've been a customer for, pointing out our loyalty
- Mention deals or prices offered by other providers that we could switch to
- Say we'll switch away if we aren't offered a good price
One thing to remember about this process however, is if we threaten to leave we must be prepared to follow through, which would mean switching providers and potentially losing services that may not be offered elsewhere.
Can you cancel and sign up again?
Existing customers who want a cheaper price shouldn't cancel their service and then expect to be able to immediately sign up again as a new customer.
Unfortunately, this tactic won't work because:
- Cancelling an account and then signing up again doesn't automatically make you a new customer, or eligible for new customer offers
- Providers keep track of customer details, including when services were cancelled, so there will be a record of previous custom
- Cancelling and ordering services can incur extra charges, so even if it did work, it might not save money
Anyone within a minimum term will be charged early termination fees, and then there could be setup or activation fees to pay as the new customer.
Cancelling can also result in loss of service, and potentially mean losing our phone number or phone line. Overall, it's not the best way forward.
New customer offers for the same household
People who move into a property who want to take up a broadband deal with the same provider as the previous occupier shouldn't have any problems accessing new customer offers.
However, if an existing customer orders a second line for broadband, perhaps say for working from home, that wouldn't be classed as a new customer. Although by speaking to the provider directly they may be offered a good deal.
Other scenarios, such as where a customer might have a broadband, TV and phone deal, but cancels the TV segment, and then signs up for TV again later, would also still be classed as an existing customer. But again, often providers will give existing customers deals for signing up again as well.
Overall, where a customer is already with a provider, seeking out deals for existing customers to add new services is the best way forward.
Where the case might be different and classed as a new customer is when a property is shared by multiple occupants who each have their own account. In this instance, each person or customer would place their own unique order and it should be considered as separate accounts as long as each physical line connection is unique as well.
Broadband deals for switching customers
Unlike cancelling a service and then signing up again immediately, customers who have genuinely switched providers, but then want to switch back again may be eligible for new customer offers.
However, it depends on each provider and their individual policies for returning customers.
Overall, it's likely providers would expect at least a 3 month to 12 month break as they would expect customers to have contracted with another provider for at least before returning on a genuine basis.
Customers who want to return to their previous provider sooner than 3 months should call the provider directly and see what offers may be made available to them. They should:
- Explain how recently they left
- Mention the new customer deal or price they've seen advertised
- Ask whether the provider can match it if they return
However, for the best prices, customers need to switch between different providers for a reasonable length of time to secure the new customer deals.
Finding new customer offers on broadband
Whether we're looking at re-joining a broadband provider or looking at the deals we want a provider to match when we haggle with them, we should check their existing deals for new customers.
This gives us an idea of what they're offering to new sign-ups, even if negotiating with them might not get us the result we want.
By searching for a new broadband deal, we can find out what's out there - and how much we should expect to pay. We can also consider whether we might be better off simply switching providers to get a new customer deal.
Read more about the best broadband offers this month and how good they are in our guide.
Summary: Check for the best offers
It can be frustrating to realise we're paying more for our broadband than new customers signing up to special deals.
This is partly the price of signing up to a minimum term contract - providers can offer an even more tempting package to future customers and there's nothing we can do about it.
There are several things to remember when we look at whether we can get a new customer offer:
- If we're within a minimum term contract, we won't usually be able to get a deal aimed at new customers
- If we're out of contract, we can haggle with our provider to let us re-contract on a good deal
- If we've been a customer of a provider and leave, we won't be able to access the deals they offer to new customers for anything from 3 to 12 months - although this varies
Since there aren't any hard and fast rules about what providers will offer to existing customers when pressed, it's difficult to know where we stand and whether we'll be able to get a better deal if we ask.
However, for the price of a phone call, it's worth getting in touch with our provider and seeing if there are better offers available.
For more information on the latest broadband prices and offers see our market comparison of UK broadband.