Utilities and communications

Bundling your services to save a packet

The battle between communications providers trying to get you to sign up to their deals is red hot, with a number of household names vying to outdo each other when it comes to phone, broadband and television services.

The reason they are so desperate to get you on their books is because of the growing trend of “bundling” – getting all your services from the same provider. Anyone signing up for the likes of Sky, Virgin Media or BT is potentially a very lucrative customer – and, equally, it is a blow to any provider if it loses a customer to a rival.

So the competition is fierce. But what is bundling, and how do you find the best bundle for you?

As with many other products – such as home and contents insurance, and gas and electricity – it usually proves cheaper to buy all your communications services from the same place. Gone are the days when you had to get your landline from BT and your satellite TV from Sky.

As well as making it easier by getting a single bill each month instead of having to monitor multiple direct debits, there are usually discounts on offer for people who buy from a single source.

But it is crucial that you sit down and work out exactly what it is you want from your package before you agree to sign up.

For example, not all television channels are available from all providers. A case in point is Sky Atlantic, home of Game of Thrones, which is offered only to people who buy their services directly from Sky.

But if you are a sports fan, you might like the idea of getting the BT Sport channels free by signing up to BT Broadband. Other providers include competitive mobile-phone deals in their packages.

What broadband speeds are on offer in your area? Do you want a package that includes catch-up TV, such as the BBC’s iPlayer service? And how long are you prepared to sign up for?

There is no one-size-fits-all service. With bills for the combined services often running into three figures every month, it’s worth doing some research to find the best deal for you.