Millions of Virgin Media customers will be hit with price hikes of up to £54 a year in the coming months.

The telecoms provider made the announcement on Monday, but according to Martin Lewis's Money Saving Experts, affected households can cancel penalty-free as a result.

They've also provided some tips on how to beat the price hike:

Which Virgin Media customers will see price rises?

The price increase affects all UK cable customers – those with broadband, TV and fixed-line phone contracts – who joined Virgin Media before June 29 2020 who aren't considered 'vulnerable'.

Vulnerable customers, which includes those on Virgin Media's new 'Essential' broadband package for people receiving universal credit, as well as 'Talk Protected' landline customers, are excluded from these prices increases.

Virgin Media wouldn't tell MSE how many people this impacts, but did confirm it would be "millions". 

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Customers who joined Virgin Media or took out one of its new bundles from June 29 2020 onwards are not affected as they already pay the provider's latest prices.

Virgin Media said that this is its first cable price change in 18 months. 

How are prices changing? 

Virgin Media wouldn't confirm the smallest and largest increase customers face, but said 99.5 per cent will see bills rise by no more than £4.50 a month, and most will see increases of between £2.50 and £4.50 a month (£30 to £54 a year) depending on the exact bundle they have.

The average increase is 4 per cent, or £3.63/month (£43.56/year).

Out of bundle call costs are not rising, and it's worth pointing out that Virgin Media only serves cable customers and not those on copper lines.

When does the increase take force?

For those customers on a fixed-price promotion, ie, who are still within the minimum term of their contract, the price change will take force once their promotional period ends.

Those who are not within their minimum term, ie, those who are on a monthly rolling contract, will see their price change from March 1.

Virgin Media says it's currently writing to its UK cable customers to inform them of the price hikes.

If your bill's going up and you're in contract, you CAN leave penalty-free

Virgin Media has confirmed that if you are affected by the price increase, you can leave your contract without paying any early termination charge.

You'll need to contact Virgin Media within 30 days of receiving your notification of the price increase to do so.

But there's no point leaving in a huff if your current deal is still the cheapest out there – so check rival providers' prices and remember other providers also increase prices from time to time.

Out of contract? Haggle or switch

If you're out of contract, check if you can find a better deal using MSE Broadband Unbundled tool – you don't need to wait for notification from Virgin Media of the price hikes to do this.

Alternatively, if you want to stick with Virgin Media you're also in a great position to renegotiate a better deal.

Check out MSE Haggle with Virgin guide for full tips on how to do this.

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A Virgin Media spokesperson said: “Through continued investment, improvement and innovation we’re committed to providing great value and a top service for our customers.

Over the last year our customers have used their connectivity more than ever before, with data use increasing at the fastest rate we’ve ever seen.

"We’re already investing more than £1bn in our network each year and consistently give our customers more megabits for their money, but to help meet this demand we do sometimes need to review our prices.

“Changing prices is never an easy decision, which is why, unlike other providers, this is our first cable price change in 18 months.

"We are currently writing to cable customers to transparently communicate these changes and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure we deliver for our customers and keep them connected at a time when it has never been more important.”