Former BT customers who wish to hold on to their BT email address will have to start paying £7.50 a month, the telecoms giant has confirmed.
BT will hike the current £5 a month charge by 50 per cent from August 22nd.
Existing customers who use a BT email address will not have to pay the fee, and former customers who return to BT will not have to pay it either.
The last rise in April 2016 was a 300 per cent hike from £1.60 a month to £5.
Hiking prices: The cost of holding on to a BT email address is rising to £7.50 a month for former customers
People are often loathe to change their email address over fears it will disrupt contact with friends and other contacts, or result in them losing their old emails.
However, BT customers who don’t want to ditch their email address now face paying £90 a year if they change provider.
The alternative is to stay with BT for broadband whether or not it offers them the best value and service.
Those affected are being contacted by BT with reassurance that ‘If you want to keep your service unchanged, you don’t need to do anything. You’ll simply start paying the new amount from 22 August 2018’.
When This is Money wrote about the price increase to £5, we pointed out that those affected are likely to be older households who use their BT email address for their correspondence.
Younger generations are more likely to use email addresses that are not linked to particular broadband providers, such as Gmail or Hotmail.
Those who are less tech-savvy are also likely to be disproportionately affected as they may be less confident copying old emails and contacts to a computer or new email account so they are not lost when the old email address is closed.
Furthermore, a high charge for keeping an email address may deter some people from shopping round to get the best deal and changing provider, tying them to BT because the additional cost of a BT email address would reduce the savings from shopping around.
Levels of switching are already low for broadband, remaining in single figures. Older customers in particular are less likely to switch. As many as 22 per cent of over 65s have been with their existing broadband provider for at least a decade, compared with eight per cent of 18-64 year olds, Citizens Advice data provided by Broadband Choices reveals.
This is Money has contacted BT for a response.
THIS IS MONEY’S FIVE OF THE BEST BROADBAND DEALS