Managing landline costs

Published: 15 December 2016

The cost of a landline is made up of two parts: line rental, and the cost of the calls you make.

Many packages include free calls for certain times of the day or at weekends. The information below could help you consider which deal is best for you.

Look at your recent bills to see what types of calls you make and whether they’re included in your current package. If they're not, talk to your provider about moving to a more cost-effective deal. It’s also worth shopping around to see what other providers offer.

If you discover you’re paying for additional call features or services you aren't using, contact your provider to discuss cancelling them.

Types of deal to consider

Unlimited evening or weekend landline calls

If you only make calls at certain times, choosing one of these deals could save you money. They allow unlimited national or local calls (to numbers beginning 01, 02 or 03) at evenings or weekends. However, check with the provider about the cost of calls to other numbers - such as 0870 or 0845 or to mobiles. Calls are often only free for a certain length of time. To avoid being charged, hang up and redial before you reach the time limit.

Unlimited anytime landline calls

If you frequently make calls in the daytime from Monday to Friday, it may be worth choosing a package which allows unlimited free calls all day, every day. Once again, ask your provider what numbers are included in the package and remember maximum call lengths are likely to apply.

Landline-only customers have been getting poor value for money in recent years. Following an Ofcom review, BT’s landline-only customers saw their monthly bills cut from April 2018. Most BT landline-only customers received this price cut automatically. Other providers may also offer similar discounts.

If you are on BT’s ‘Home Phone Saver’ package, you can choose to stay on your current package, or move to the standard package where you will receive the price cut.

Information is available to help landline-only customers shop around for a better deal In addition to the information on this page we provide a list of the price comparison websites accredited by Ofcom and advice on how to switch landline provider.

Some providers offer social tariffs for eligible households who might be struggling to afford their landline services.

If you find you ring the same numbers time and time again, you might want to consider tariffs which let you make free unlimited calls, or calls at discounted rates to favourite numbers.

Some packages allow you to include non-geographic numbers – such as 0845 and 0870 numbers – or even international numbers.

Protection against nuisance calls

Phone providers offer products and services that can help protect against nuisance calls. These include Caller Display, Incoming Call Blocking, Anonymous Call Rejection, Last Caller Identification (or 1471) and Voicemail (or 1571).

In some cases, these services are free.

Ofcom has more information on how these services work and how much they cost.

Other features

Phone providers offer other call-related services - such as three-way calling, call reminder, call diversion, and ring-back.

If these services are important to you, shop around to choose the package that best meets your needs and budget.

If you have a broadband connection, using a voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider such as Skype to make calls can cut the cost of your calls.

You can make calls from your computer to another computer – which are usually free – or you can use VoIP to call a traditional landline or mobile.

You’ll need a headphone and microphone which you plug into your PC, or you can plug in a traditional home phone using a VoIP adapter.

You can also use the built-in microphone and speakers in many computers, particularly laptops.

You then download the required software from your chosen VoIP provider. You should check that it is compatible with your computer.

There are different types of call plan so shop around.

Following our review of this market, BT cut its prices for landline-only customers from April 2018. Since May 2018, Post Office has also offered a new, lower price.

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