How to save money on your landline
While broadband is getting cheaper, phone line rental is creeping up each year. It now averages £15.25 per month – a 30% hike since 2009 – with more price rises planned in the future.
Although many people still use their home phone, the cost is a huge bugbear for others who don’t but are shackled to paying line rental since most broadband is delivered via telephone lines. Here are five simple steps to cut the cost and put some cash back in your pocket.
Pay up front
If you’ve got to pay it, you might as well make it as cheap as possible. Whether you’re a new or existing customer - most providers offer line rental saver plans that allow you to pay 12 months upfront in one lump sum, giving a healthy discount as a bonus.
The home phone line is the uncool older brother to the hip young broadband, and therefore tends to get neglected when we shop around and compare deals. But if you use your landline regularly, it’s important to pick a deal that suits your usage pattern to avoid paying extra for calls that you could get for free.
Are you happy to save your catch-ups for evenings and weekends for example, or do you want the freedom to talk anytime? Picking a plan that includes unlimited minutes during these times will protect you from surprise bills at the end of the month. It’s also possible to get international talk plans, which are great if you call abroad often - but there are even cheaper ways to keep in touch with friends and family overseas (see VoIP calling below).
Avoid premium numbers
You can be on the best value phone plan and opt for the cheapest method to call abroad, but still get stung with a big bill if you have to call premium rate numbers. We’re talking about those 0870, 0845 and 0871 numbers for help lines, customer services and government organisations, which are rarely included in home phone packages, even if you pay for unlimited landline calls.
Thankfully, there’s a way to avoid them. If you do an online search for the company you’re trying to contact, you should be able to find a geographical alternative to the premium rate number. If you can't find the specific department you need, there’s usually a main number to call. You can ask to be transferred to the relevant team without paying the premium rate.
Use VoIP calling
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a method of voice and video communication over the internet. It is an increasingly popular way to keep in touch, with many people using it alongside their landline to save on international call costs, or even instead of a landline as their sole form of talk communication.
You’ll need a broadband connection and device with a webcam (a desktop computer, tablet or smartphone, for example) and an account with a VoIP provider, such as Skype. It’s then free to video call other people who have Skype or any other VoIP software, wherever they are in the world.
If your landline is pretty much dormant and you live in an area covered by Virgin Media you can take broadband without a landline at all. Virgin delivers broadband through fibre optic cables instead of telephone lines and is the only provider to offer select broadband services without line rental.
Getting rid of or cutting back on services you don't use or need is a great way to save money - and starting with your landline is a good first step. If you've used any of our five top tips and found you were able to reduce your bills, let us know by leaving us a comment in the box below.
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