Science + Tech

Comparing or Changing Phone Providers

Your landline doesn’t have to eat into your budget if you follow some simple steps to cut your costs. If you’re with one of the bigger companies like BT or Virgin you may be able to save some cash just by switching to a smaller company with a better deal.

If you’re up for switching providers, there are some seriously cheap landline rental options out there, but remember to check through the costs of the calls you’d use. These won’t be included in the contract. Primus has the cheapest individual line rental only deal at £5.99 per month if you sign up through the comparison site Homephonechoices, and is best for those who rarely use their landline phone. For a pound a month more you can get evening and weekend calls included on Primus’s Home Saver Deal. This is significant save when compared to BT’s £15.45 rate for standard line rental with weekend calls. If you’re not too impressed by Primus, the Post Office basic line rental package with weekend calls is discounted if you pay for the year’s contract upfront at £120, making it £10 per month, and tends to do well in customer feedback polls (especially when compared to Primus). Paying upfront is also a good way to cut costs with BT if you don’t want to switch from them, but you do need to make at least two calls per month to avoid charges, so make sure you’re aware of that. Upfront saver deals are also available through TalkTalk, Virgin Media and other major providers. Of course, another option is to look at mobile phone deals instead – you may be cheaper to have a mobile than a landline depending on your usage.

If you’re after a package that bundles your broadband and phone line rental together, TalkTalk seem to be your best bet. Their upfront bundle comes out to £9.40 per month. If you take Tesco’s line rental you can also get a really cheap deal on their broadband if you sign up on before 30th September, coming out to £16.90 per month. It’s pricier than TalkTalk but worth considering if you’re a Clubcard user as you can get points back on your bill.

If you don’t want to switch, there are some easy steps you can take first to try and trim the expense. If you’ve been paying for your landline with cash or anything other than direct debit, you may be incurring additional charge, so switch to direct debit to avoid these. You should also check that the package you’re paying for is really suited to your needs. For example, if you’re using BT’s Unlimited Weekend call plan but you find that you need to make calls in the evenings during the week then it may be worth paying slightly more to upgrade to avoid being charged more for those calls. Using override providers such as 18185 on top of your home phone rental can significantly cut the cost of your calls, particularly if you need deals on calling mobiles or international numbers, both of which tend to be extremely pricey as part of your regular package.

If you’re with Virgin Media switching can be a bit tricky, as they use their own cable technology rather than the BT phone line, but try calling them up and threatening to leave and watch them bend over backward to try and keep you on board. You should be able to haggle a discount as Virgin are always keen to keep as much of the market as they can. It’s also worth noting that if you have a relevant disability or financial difficulties you may be able to access a social tariff (such as the BT Basic tariff) that gives discounts for certain benefit recipients, so it’s always worth checking with your provider if you think these might apply to you.

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