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The growing cost of a landline call

By Ellen de Vries

Mobile phones are now very much a part of our everyday lives and are an invaluable communication resource when you’re on the move. But when you’re at home or in the office, using a landline has always been the obvious and cheaper option. Is that still the case?

Over the past year the cost of making a daytime call from a BT landline has risen substantially.

New charges, old charges

New charges, to be introduced at the end of next month, will see the percentage increase to about a third more than this time last year – from 5.4p to 7.6p a minute. The connection charge has also risen from 9.3p to 12.5p and the monthly line rental has risen from £12.79 to £13.90.

For those customers who don’t pay by direct debit, the monthly line rental cost will be even higher at £15.70 a month.

Our calculations

Here at uSwitch, we’ve calculated that someone on the basic package, making a fairly modest two five-minute daytime calls each day would see their monthly bill jump from £28.52 a year ago to £35.78 once the new fees take effect.

Michael Phillips, director of, said: “We are very disappointed that BT is raising prices.”

Already TalkTalk is set to increase its daytime rates to 7.6p from May, and other rival phone companies are expected to follow their lead.

So why have a landline at all?

With the rising costs of landline calls and increased competition between mobile phone companies, it’s natural to imagine eventually people abandoning their landline altogether, leading to a world built almost entirely on mobile phones. So why should you keep your landline?

Good reasons for having landlines are:

  • Coverage and line stability

If an important business call needs to be made, or a long, delicate conversation needs to be had, a stable line is important.

  • For when you run out of free minutes on your mobile

For people who find themselves going over their monthly minute allowance with their mobile phone, a landline might also offer a good savings – particularly with long-distance call packages.

  • If your mobile is lost or stolen

Having a landline means you’re contactable while it’s being replaced. And with a landline, you don’t have to worry about your battery dying.

  • In the event of an emergency

A landline allows the emergency services to locate where the call is originating from immediately, saving a few, possibly vital seconds.

What now?

If you’re not brave enough to lose your landline just yet, try using uSwitch’s home phone line comparison service to find the best landline package for you. Often the best deals combine a home phone service with broadband and digital TV services. If you use your landline a lot, it could well be worth paying an additional fee for an inclusive call package but make sure that you really do make enough calls to justify the monthly cost.

Companies tend to offer lower prices in exchange for being tied into a long contract but remember, phone deals change constantly so only tie yourself into a long contract if you’re confident it’s right for you in the long term.

  • Maxadolf

    You made no mention of the obscene charge for phoning someone who is engaged. Virgin, for example (and others), charge 17 p for an engaged line, even though you put the receiver down the moment you realize that the line is engaged and you have not even left a message on the other party’s voice mail. In the old days, you were not charged for an engaged line. Trouble is that most people are not aware of this scurrilous charge for what amounts to a 2 sec (engaged) call.

    Oftel/Offcom are aware of this scam but do nothing. The Chancellor should have generated savings by dismantling this useless quango!

  • john taylor

    would like to know cheapest paygo mobile tariff for low user.

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