A third of us have not changed our home phone provider in over 5 years and are likely to be wasting big money as a result
As we look to save on our household bills in January, the most obvious targets are energy and insurance. The slightly more determined amongst us may also have looked at our digital TV and broadband bills, as there are big savings to bundle the services together.
But it is the humble home phone line and calls plans that often get overlooked.
Indeed, recent research by Ofcom accredited home phone, broadband and digital TV comparison service Simplifydigital.co.uk, shows that a third of households have not changed their home phone provider in over 5 years.
The result is that the majority of households are sitting on big potential savings without even knowing it.
Charlie Ponsonby, CEO of Simplifydigital.co.uk notes:
“We talk to thousands of customers every week and many are unaware of the huge potential savings that they are sitting on due to expensive home phone services that they have not switched in years.”
Mr Ponsonby continues:
“Typically customers save over £300 per year by finding better value home phone packages – often bundled with their broadband and digital TV services.”
Home phone costs consist of the line rental (paid monthly) and the additional cost of the call plan. There is not much variation in the cost of line rental, which averages about £11 per month.
But there are huge differences in the cost of the calls between suppliers and some important things to watch out for when choosing.
For example costs to mobiles can be a killer. And costs to the 3 mobile network are especially high for some providers (e.g. Virgin Media’s standard rate calls to mobiles is 14p per minute, relative to 26p per minute for calls to 3 mobile). So check the rates you provider offers
A typical example – a busy family making regular daytime calls during the week
Let’s assume that the family has BT’s basic “Unlimited Evening and Weekend Plan” which charges 5.4p per minute for national daytime calls. If the family spends 20 minutes on the phone per day to landlines, they will be spending £22 per month on national calls alone.
What’s more if they are spending another 20 minutes per day on calls to mobiles (which BT charge at 12.5p per minute), this would add up to another £50 per month, making a total of £72 per month excluding line rental!
In contrast the pick of the anytime call plans are listed below.
Sky Talk Unlimited (£5 per month for Sky TV customers)
This package is only available for Sky TV customers. It is very good value and gives you unlimited free national daytime calls, plus free calls to 10 international destinations including France and the US. And importantly calls to mobiles would be just 9p per minute. So instead of paying £72 per month, the family would pay a total of £41 per month (excluding line rental) and benefit from the free international calls – making a net saving of about £31 per month or £372 per year.
TalkTalk UK Anytime
The TalkTalk package is another great value plan. For £4.49 per month you get free daytime calls (this rises to £5.49 per month after 12 months). Calls to mobiles are 12p per minute and you also pay for calls to international destinations. But on this basis you would still expect to save about £234 per year (£19.51 per month)
BT Unlimited Anytime Plan
Moving to this plan would not involve switching from BT. It costs £4.99 per month for free daytime, evening and weekend calls. Calls to mobile cost 12.5p per minute and BT’s standard international call charges apply. But by switching to this plan, the family would still save £17 per month or £204 per year.
A major drawback of the BT package is that it ropes you in to a 12 month “renewable contract” which automatically gets extended to an additional twelve months, after the completion of the initial 12.
The family might also consider a VOIP service like Skype. They offer big opportunities to save, but require a broadband connection (as the calls go over the internet). Skype offers free calls to other Skype users wherever they are in the world and also offer a package of free calls to domestic landlines anytime for £3.39 per month.
In summary, if you have not reviewed your home phone package in a while it is definitely worth digging out the bills, checking what call plan you are on, and seeing if you can save!