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Can you keep your email address if you change internet provider?

Kara Gammell / 27 June 2016 ( 11 July 2017 )

Are you worried about changing internet provider in case you lose your email account? You don’t have to be…

Three ladies looking at a laptop together
Stay in touch with your friends - switching broadband providers doesn't mean you'll lose all your contacts.

When you sign up for broadband, most internet providers will include a free email address in the package. 

But by using their free email address, you could be stuck with an uncompetitive deal that offers slow speeds and unsatisfactory service. This is because if you decide to change broadband provider, you may run the risk of losing your email account.

Changing internet providers: do you pay to keep your email address?

Some internet providers, such as the Post Office or Virgin for instance, will completely delete the email account if you decide to Switch internet provider, while others will let you keep it – so long as you are willing to pay.

And these charges aren’t cheap - in June 2016, BT more than tripled the monthly service fees for former broadband customers who hold on to their email address, access to their inbox and contacts after moving away from the firm.

While free for its broadband customers, the telecoms giant upped the cost of Premium Mail to £5 a month for those with other providers – up from £1.60. The only way to avoid these charges is to switch back to the broadband provider, though it has offered to pay up to £300 in exit fees if your current internet provider charges you for cancelling your contract.

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Get a free email address that won’t end up costing

In order to avoid being unable to change internet provider for the next decade or more, it makes financial sense to opt for an email account that will last you for years – and won’t cost you a penny. 

Here's how to do it.

Switch your email address from your current internet provider

If you already have an email address with your internet provider, don’t fret – you can make the switch to a Gmail or Outlook account without losing old messages or contact details.

All you have to do is migrate your old account to a new one.

If you have opted to sign up with Gmail, you are in for a simple swap thanks to its Mail Fetcher feature. This imports all your old messages and then continues to bring in new mail sent to your other account.

To get started, open Gmail, click the cog icon on the right, then choose Settings. Click the Accounts link then click to “Add a POP3 mail account you own” then enter your old email address and follow the on-screen instructions.

Next, it's time to set up a system so that anything sent to your old email account gets forwarded to your new one. You'll need to do this on your old email account.

With BT Connect, for example, log in to, click Manage Services > Email Summary, then highlight your email address in the box, click Email Forwarding > Edit then enter your Gmail address and click Save > OK.

Don’t forget to notify your friends and family of your change in address. 

Then create an auto-responder on your old email address to alert those sending new messages to you.

Simply head into your old email account, create an auto-responder (also known as a vacation responder or out-of-office message depending on the service), and create a message that tells recipients about your new address. 

Bear in mind that it is crucial that you do this before you terminate your broadband contract; some services may send a verification to your old email address, so it will still need to be active.


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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.