What happens to your email address when you switch broadband provider

Published: 14 November 2023
Last updated: 14 November 2023

Ofcom doesn’t regulate email services directly, but we want you to be able to switch your broadband provider without any hassle.

When you switch broadband provider, you might need to pay if you want to continue using the email address your old provider gave you.

Some companies charge you to keep your email address

If you switch to another company for your internet service, but want to keep using the email address you were given by your old provider, they will still be providing you with a service. Some companies charge for this.

Different broadband providers have different policies about what happens to your email address when you switch away from them. Here’s what happens with some of the major providers:

 BTPlusnetSkyTalkTalkVirgin Media
Will you still be able to access your email?YesYesYesYes but from early 2024, you will be charged to continue using your addressNo, your email account will be deleted after 90 days
Is it free to access your email?Yes, a basic web-based version is availableYesYesYes, if you have accessed it at least once in the last 180 days. From early 2024, you will be charged to continue using your addressN/A
Do you need to pay to keep all of the same email features?BT Premium email service is available for £7.50 a monthNo, you get all the same features for freeNo, you get all the same features for free TalkTalk Mail Plus is available for £5 per month/£50 per year.
From early 2024, you will be charged to continue using your address

Customers might not be aware of these differences, or the options available to them when they cancel their contract. It’s important these options are clearly explained in the information people receive about ending their contract.

Consider setting up a free webmail account

You might be put off switching because you don't want to lose the email address you have with your current provider.

But there are many alternative free email services available, often quick and easy to set up, which can help you transfer information from your existing email account – such as your contacts and the messages you already have. You can also set up these accounts on the ‘Mail’ app on your smartphone or tablet, so you can easily access your emails without having to log in via an internet browser.

This means your email address doesn’t have to tie you down to your broadband provider. In fact, if your inbox is full of unwanted marketing mail, changing your email address is a great opportunity to start from scratch and make sure you only get the emails you want.

Top tips to help you change email address if you switch internet provider

  1. Get a new email address for free. Rather than paying your previous provider, or setting up a new email address each time you change provider, switch to a free email account like Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo.
  2. Import your email and contacts. Many email services have tools to help you transfer your contacts and messages. There are online guides that can help you to do this in minutes.
  3. Update your email on your online accounts, starting with the most important accounts first, like online banking and any subscription services. Also let your contacts know that you have a new email address.
  4. Do some housekeeping – unsubscribe! This is a great time to update your email with only the marketing companies you want to hear from.
  5. Set up forwarding and automatic reply. Forward your emails to your new account and let everyone know you've changed your address.

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