MoneyMagpie

Nov 08

Home phone providers: how to find the cheapest and save £££s

The rising cost of home phone services is yet another blow for your household budget. We know you need to make savings wherever you can and we’re here to tell you that you don’t have to stand for paying more for your home phone. That’s where the Moneymagpie mantra – switch to save – comes into its own. We’ll tell you exactly how to find the cheapest home phone deal for you, which home phone providers are the best, how you can enjoy free weekend calls forever and how bundling could save you over £230!

Brits spend 32 minutes on our home phones each weekend, and if you pay for weekend calls that habit will be costing you a whopping £262 a year! BUT – if you make sure you have the best landline package for you – there’s no need to pay for weekend calls ever again! If you just want to know about the best standalone home phone packages we tell you about them here, or if you’re thinking about bundling your phone and internet you’ll want to read this section. Whichever you choose we’ve got some extra tips for cutting your phone costs even further here.

Bundles vs standalone

Generally speaking, a bundle will always offer better value for money – in fact, bundling your broadband, TV and home phone could save you over £230, according to BroadbandChoices. It’s not for everyone, though, so take a look at our step-by-step guide to picking the best home phone deal for you. Step one: questions to ask yourself

  • Will I need to make international calls?
  • Do I use my mobile more than the home phone?
  • Do I make many calls during the day?
  • Do I surf the internet much – or at all?
  • Do I download films and music?
  • Do I watch premium TV channels?

Step two: compare prices See if you could save money by switching to a broadband/phone bundle with our free BroadbandChoices comparison service where you can search for broadband and phone bundles, or by download speed and price. Step three: compare providers Cheapest isn’t always best so here’s a helpful summary from BroadbandChoices as to the strengths and weaknesses of various providers:

  • BT is the UK’s biggest broadband provider and a reliable, trusted brand that offers a great selection of added extras with its home phone and broadband packages, such as free security software and online storage services. But like the Post Office, it isn’t one of the cheapest providers on the market.
  • Plusnet offers great rates on its home phone and broadband packages, with broadband and evening and weekend UK landline calls available from just £5.99 a month plus line rental. Different call packages and an unlimited broadband deal (subject to a fair usage policy) are also available. Customers on the cheapest package have to be careful not to go over their allowance or they will be charged for their excess usage. £14.50/month line rental.
  • The Post Office is the only broadband provider to accept over-the-counter cash payments for its home phone and broadband bundles. This makes it a great budgeting tool, even though it doesn’t offer the cheapest packages around.
  • Primus Saver is one of the cheapest line rental providers if you just want a standalone home phone, with basic line rental costing just £5.99 a month.
  • Sky customers get a great choice of digital TV options with their home phone and broadband packages. Sky is also the only ISP to offer a truly unlimited broadband package – its Max package doesn’t even have a fair usage policy. Sky line rental is £15.40 and, as with many of the big bundlers, call costs can be high.
  • Virgin Media has the UK’s fastest broadband speeds and consistently tops download speed tables as well as offering free digital TV with some packages. However, its home phone call costs are expensive outside of a bundle.
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Top bundles

Plusnet Unlimited broadband and calls

  • Inclusive activation worth £25
  • Wireless router included
  • Totally unlimited download limit
  • Up to 16MB broadband
  • FREE weekend UK landline calls – free calls of up to one-hour duration (you may hang up and redial to avoid charges)
  • From just £2.99 per month for 12 months (£9.99 per month thereafter) + line rental at £14.50 a month
  • New Plusnet customer offer – 18-month contract.

BT Unlimited Broadband + Weekend Calls: FREE BT Sport!

  • Up to 16MB broadband
  • Totally unlimited downloads
  • BT often include a Sainsbury’s Gift Card with this package, so make sure you check on their site what offer’s on and how to claim
  • Free BT Sport via the BT Sport app and online player
  • Free weekend calls to UK landlines + 0845/0870 numbers – free calls of up to one-hour duration (you may hang up and redial to avoid charges)
  • Latest wireless BT Home Hub included
  • Connection included
  • FREE for six months, then £16 per month (+ £15.45 monthly line rental)
  • Introductory offer only available online and to new BT broadband customers – 18-month contract

Top standalone home phone deal

Primus Home Phone Saver Package

  • Costs £6.99 a month including line rental – exclusive to broadbandchoices.co.uk.
  • Unlimited evening and weekend calls to UK landlines
  • Minimum 12-month contract
  • Charges during the day – 4p per minute

Primus line rental is considerably cheaper than BT and Virgin, who charge £15.40 and £14.99 respectively per month. So a switch from BT or Virgin to Primus will save you more than £70 per year!

Top tips for cutting costs on your home phone

  • Pay the right way

Most providers charge up to £5 per month if you pay by cheque, so set up a direct debit for instant savings. Also, if you opt for paperless billing (and receive your statements online instead of by post) some providers may offer a small discount – plus you can feel a bit smug by doing your bit for the environment.

  • Check the small print

It’s important you know what you’re getting into so do find out how long the contract will last – most will be 12 or 18-month contracts but there may be early exit fees that make it virtually impossible to leave that company without incurring a huge bill. Some of the cheapest packages are on offer with long contracts – some can be as long as 36 months. Weigh up whether it’s worth spending a little extra per month for the peace of mind in knowing you can leave that company and perhaps switch to a better deal without having to cough up hundreds of pounds to leave. Also, don’t be fooled into thinking that an ‘unlimited’ broadband package means you get to download as much data as you like – there will still be a fair usage policy and there may be penalties if you exceed this limit.

  • Keep an eye on your bill

Always check your bill carefully – companies can make millions out of administrative mistakes that consumers fail to notice. And, if you don’t look at your bills, you’ll never even notice. Go through your bill carefully, even if it’s online, and check that all the numbers called look familiar. If there are any big charges make sure you know what they are and why they were called. Remember to try saynoto0870 if they only give out a premium-rate number. There are several stages to a complaint process: Firstly, contact the service supplier and register the inaccuracy. In most cases this is as far as it goes. Every company will have a formal complaint process for you to register a mistake. If this doesn’t work, get in touch with the industry’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme – you can only do this if 12 weeks have passed since the original complaint (or if the company has written a ‘deadlock’ letter saying that they do not accept that they have made a mistake). The ADR scheme has the power to order the company to fix the problem and, if necessary pay you compensation. Check the back of your phone bill for details of the ADR scheme. If all else fails, you can complain to Ofcom if you’re unhappy with the way the ADR scheme dealt with your problem.

  • Use an override provider

These specialist phone providers operate with a code entered before you dial the number you’re calling. You’ll need a phone line to use them, but they work on most providers. There’s an initial connection charge, but after this calls will generally be a good deal cheaper that with BT or other suppliers.

  • For UK landlines try 1899 – you’ll pay a 4p connection charge and then the calls are free
  • For calling mobiles during the day the cheapest service is 18185 – this costs 6p/min plus a 5p connection charge per call
  • Others worth looking into are Broadtele and OneTel.

For more tips see our full article on how to cut your phone costs here.

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WHAT DO YOU THINK?

One thought on “Home phone providers: how to find the cheapest and save £££s

  1. Very useful information,will print off and save for further referance.
    I am with o2 broadband mobile o2,bt landline,unfortunatley o2 do not have landline so have to continue to use bt to access intrnet.
    Left bt after many years,found them unsatisfactory and expensive,also unhelpful,still fighting them over a complaint with the help of C.A.B.

    Reply

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