TalkTalk customer data breach
TalkTalk customers cannot leave the company, but will instead be offered a free upgrade TalkTalk

TalkTalk is to give all of its four million customers a free upgrade to their account. The gift comes as an apology for the recent cyber attack that stole the personal details of more than 150,000 users.

Chief Executive Dido Harding said, from 1 December, customers can pick a free upgrade to be added to their subscription. The offer will go some way to appease users who were angered by its latest security breach, the third time TalkTalk has been hacked in 12 months.

Harding said: "TalkTalk takes the security of customers' data extremely seriously and we are taking significant further steps to ensure our systems are protected, as well as writing to all our customers outlining what we are doing to keep their data safe."

As well taking extra measures to protect their data, TalkTalk will offer all customers − whether they were affected by the hack or not − the choice to update their accounts. Harding said: "In recognition of the unavoidable uncertainty, and because we know that doing what is right for our customers will ensure the best possible outcome for the company over the longer term, we are today announcing the offer of a choice of free upgraded services to all our customers."

Customers will be able to pick an upgrade from 1 December, and in doing so can add one of the following to their existing service for free:

  • TV content, including movies, kids entertainment and sports packages
  • A mobile SIM with a monthly allowance of free calls, texts and data
  • Unlimited UK landline and mobile calls
  • A broadband health check by experiences engineers

The upgrade will act as some consolation for customers who were denied the option to leave TalkTalk without paying off the remaining months of their subscription in full. TalkTalk said it will only let customers leave early and for free if they can prove they have lost money as a direct result of the hack. This is the third time TalkTalk has been hacked in the last 12 months, and a parliamentary committee will now conduct an investigation into what happened.

The company said "significantly" fewer customers were affected by the hack than first feared, and that all customer-facing online sales and service channels are now back online. It was initially thought, by TalkTalk itself, that the personal details of 1.2 million customers had been stolen, along with 21,000 bank account numbers and 28,000 censored debit and credit card details.